Five Ways an Oral Surgeon Can Help You
Oral surgery is one of nine specialty areas of dentistry. An
oral surgeon performs surgery on the mouth and jaw--there are many diseases, injuries,
and defects that require the services of an oral surgeon.
Oral surgeons have nearly six more years of training than a regular dentist, allowing
them to perform far more complicated procedures--although a dentist is
capable of removing teeth, they can only handle very simple cases. Complicated
extractions and other serious problems are always referred to an oral
surgeon, where the patient is in expert hands and can also receive IV
sedation when necessary. An
oral surgeon treats a variety of conditions:
1. Tooth extraction.
The most common type of tooth extraction that brings a patient to an oral
surgeon is the wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth are often impacted, meaning
that the tooth does not have room to emerge properly and is stuck between
the jawbone and gum tissue. Other teeth such as cuspids and bicuspids
may be impacted as well, but it is most often seen with wisdom teeth.
Impacted teeth can cause pain, swelling, infection, damage to other teeth,
bone damage, and the formation of cysts. Sometimes severely damaged or
broken down teeth require the expertise of an oral surgeon.
2. Dental implants.
Restorative dentists require the help of an oral surgeon to assist patients
in the process of receiving dental implants. Dental implants can be used
to replace teeth that were lost due to an accident or infection, and the
artificial tooth root is anchored in place in the jaw. Oral surgeons also
handle the task of bone reconstruction that is often necessary for successful
dental implants. They may need to modify gum tissue once implants are placed.
3. Pathological conditions.
Oral surgeons address issues involving cysts, tumors, and infections of
the mouth and face. They can remove cysts and send samples of abnormal
growths to the laboratory for biopsy. Some areas in the mouth can become
severely infected and require the attention of an oral surgeon, including
the jaw, neck, and salivary glands.
4. Corrective surgery.
Jaw problems and irregularities (serious bite problems, TMJ) often need
surgical corrections to relieve pain and improve functionality. An oral
surgeon and orthodontist work together to address these issues, and treatment
usually requires realignment of the jaws. Birth defects such as cleft
lip and cleft palate or facial trauma such as fractured bones and severed
nerves can also be treated by an oral surgeon.
5. Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment.
Dentists first refer a patient with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) to a
sleep clinic to determine the severity of the issue and the treatment
necessary to alleviate it. There are many non-surgical options that help
treat OSA including behavior modification, positive air pressure machines,
and oral appliances. Unfortunately, there are times when none of these
options work, and the patient is referred to an oral surgeon. A variety
of surgical procedures can help in the treatment of OSA, some that open
airways by tightening a tendon in the tongue or adjusting the jaws, and
others that modify the soft palate to prevent airway collapse.
Oral surgeons treat an extensive variety of conditions that cannot be fixed
in the dentist's office. Surgeons undergo considerable training after
graduating from dental school, including training in a hospital-based
surgery residency program. An oral surgeon treats patients in many settings,
including hospitals, outpatient facilities, surgery centers, and their
own dental offices. In addition to providing excellent care, oral surgeons
ensure that patients are comfortable during complicated procedures by
offering options such as IV sedation. Please feel free to
contact us to learn more about oral surgery and how it can help you.