Oral Surgery


Oral & maxillofacial surgery is a highly specialized area of dentistry. An oral surgeon must spend four extra years in a hospital residency to earn their degree. Because of their cross training with other kinds of doctors, oral surgeons can perform advanced procedures that general dentists cannot.

An oral surgeon specialises in working with the bone & soft tissue of your mouth. Their treatments range from wisdom teeth removal to facial reconstructive surgery. Oral surgery is more in-depth than your typical dental procedure, & normally requires local or general anaesthesia, sedation & time for recovery. Below are a few of the services that oral surgeons provide.

Tooth Extractions: When a tooth doesn’t come in properly, it needs to be removed to prevent further problems. An impacted tooth—one that has not fully come in—can leave your other teeth prone to infection, shifting & decay. While a general dentist can remove a tooth that is fully visible above the gum line, an oral surgeon needs to perform more complicated surgical extractions when the tooth is stuck in the jawbone. In a surgical extraction, gum tissue & bone matter need to be removed to get access to the problematic tooth. An oral surgeon can remove a tooth that is partially or completely stuck in the jawbone & repair the gum & bone tissue once they are finished.

Dental Implant Placement: A dental implant is a secure replacement for an original tooth, because the bone actually fuses to the implant through a process called osseointegration. An oral surgeon is the person who decides if your bone is strong enough to osseointegrate. If you qualify, they also place the titanium implant post that the crown (replacement tooth) attaches to.

Bone Grafting: You may be told that your jawbone is not dense enough to support a dental implant. If you are unable to get a dental implant because of bone loss, an oral surgeon can replace the weak bone matter with bone grafting. This involves transplanting bone tissue from other areas in your body to serve as a stronger foundation for the implant. Like an implant, the transplanted bone fuses with the original bone. The amount of time this takes varies with each case. Sometimes, bone grafting can be done at the same time as your implant placement. In other cases, it can take several months to integrate new bone.

Sedation & Anesthesia: Oral surgeons are licensed to provide intravenous (IV) sedation & general anaesthesia. Patients receive IV sedation before major treatments or if they struggle with dental fear. It is the most powerful & effective form of anxiety elimination available to dental care professionals.

Oral surgeons can also provide general anaesthesia, which is the same thing you get before a hospital procedure. It is sometimes necessary to put a patient to sleep if an oral surgeon needs to perform a more complex or in-depth procedure. There’s no need to worry if your oral surgeon mentions using general anaesthesia during your appointment—it doesn’t mean your treatment is more difficult or painful. It’s just a way to make you comfortable & to make their work simpler.

Jaw Surgery: If you have facial pain, headaches or difficulty moving your jaw because of a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), an oral surgeon can help. While a TMD can usually be resolved with minimally invasive treatment, surgery may be necessary in serious cases.

You may also need jaw surgery if you have a severely misaligned bite. Though orthodontic appliances like braces are usually sufficient to correct common bite problems, some patients have alignment issues with their jaw rather than their teeth. To fix this, an oral surgeon has to perform orthognathic surgery to reposition the jaw. This only happens in serious cases when other methods of bite adjustment have not worked.

Sleep Apnea Treatment: Patients who have not found success with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines or other sleep apnoea appliances may benefit from surgery to open up their airways. There are a few ways to do this:

  • Removing a small amount of soft tissue in the back of your mouth to create a larger space for air to pass through
  • Tightening your tongue’s tendon to keep it out of the way during sleep
  • Moving the upper & lower jaws forward using jaw surgery

If you have any questions about oral surgery, please don’t hesitate to call us today!

 

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