What is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a dental specialist who has completed a four- or six-year surgical residency program following dental school in order to treat conditions, defects and injuries involving the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons care for patients who need treatment for wisdom teeth, facial pain, misaligned jaws and facial injury. They often receive training in how to treat both functional and aesthetic conditions.
What are some common procedures than an oral surgeon might perform?
Some of the treatments an oral surgeon provides include:
Should I have my wisdom teeth removed even if they are not causing problems?
Wisdom teeth often cause serious problems, including crowding and shifting your other teeth, changing your bite and contributing to the loss of jawbone tissue. Wisdom teeth that are impacted (partially erupted) may also trap food and contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. The longer your wisdom teeth are in your mouth, the more likely they are to cause problems. Your wisdom teeth erupt at different rates, and a significant amount of damage can occur before you begin to notice that anything in your mouth is amiss. We recommend removing your wisdom teeth from your mouth earlier rather than later to avoid these types of problems.
What is jaw reconstruction?
Jaw reconstruction, or orthognathic surgery, involves reshaping the face and jaw to correct abnormalities. During this surgery, the doctor alters the position of the jaw to improve its function while chewing and speaking as well as its appearance. Jaw surgery is often performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.
What is a dental implant?
Dental implants are a type of restoration designed to replace both the root and the crown of your missing tooth. They consist of an implant post, typically made of titanium or another biocompatible material, and an implant restoration. Implants are surgically placed into your jawbone to replace your tooth root. After the implant post has been placed, our dentists will work with you to create a custom restoration (usually a crown, bridge or denture) to be fixed atop the implant post and complete your treatment.
What needs to be done before my implant can be placed?
Before providing you with a dental implant, our dentists will meet with you to thoroughly examine your mouth. During this appointment, we will discuss your medical and dental history and check to make sure that you have sufficient supporting bone structure for your implant. You may need to have a bone grafting procedure prior to your implant placement to ensure that your implant will have enough support and space to be successfully placed.
What are impacted teeth?
Impacted teeth occur when erupting teeth do not break through the gums, instead remaining trapped in the bone and gum tissues. Wisdom teeth and the upper canine teeth are the most commonly impacted teeth in the mouth. These teeth typically require surgical treatment to expose. Often, simply exposing the tooth will allow it to erupt normally. However, in some cases orthodontic treatment may also be needed to correct the position of the tooth.
Does oral surgery hurt?
You will be provided with an anesthetic to numb the treatment area prior to receiving any procedure. Sedation options may also be available depending on the office and on the type of oral surgical procedure you are receiving.
How do I know if I need oral surgery?
Generally speaking, your dentist will recommend that you visit an oral surgeon for treatment. You may also contact an oral surgeon’s office if you have questions or would like a second opinion about something that might require a surgical procedure.