Patients who have issues with their teeth, gums, palate, jaw or other parts of the neck or facial region may require oral surgery. This type of surgery is performed by an oral surgeon, who attends an additional four years of specialized surgical training after dental school. The advanced education of an oral surgeon includes anesthesiology and surgical treatment of dental issues. Oral surgeons stay up to date in their field through research and continued education and training.
Reasons for Needing Oral Surgery
Dentists, orthodontists, and other medical professionals refer patients to an oral surgeon for conditions they cannot treat in their own practice. Conditions range from minor to serious and include:
- An impacted tooth, which could be a wisdom tooth or other tooth, pushing against or moving into a nearby tooth
- A dental implant to replace a missing tooth
- Removal of fragments from a broken tooth
- Pain from Temporomandibular Joint Disease (TMJ)
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Infection in the maxillofacial region
- Reversing oral or facial features that were present from birth
Oral surgeons can address patient questions and concerns about their condition and offer possible solutions.
Types of Oral Surgeries
Bone grafting is a procedure that builds an additional foundation on the bone beneath the surface of the gum. This makes it possible to install a dental implant after the loss of one or more teeth.
Dental implants are fused to the bone beneath the gums. Implants provide support for permanent tooth prosthetics, which function as lifetime replacements.
Wisdom teeth removal is performed on impacted wisdom teeth that may cause a problem in the future when they erupt from the gums. This surgery is usually performed on patients between the ages of 17 and 25.
Jaw surgery helps patients with a misaligned jaw that causes abnormal wear on the teeth and symptoms like headaches. Jaw surgery, known as orthognathic surgery, may improve the bite, speech, and even appearance.
TMJ disorders correct complications with the temporomandibular joint, located where the skull meets the jaw. This joint can cause chronic pain and other problems when a disorder is present.
Other types of oral surgery treat infections, defects, diseases, and various conditions of the face and neck region.
Choosing an Oral Surgeon
Oral surgeons are dedicated to the oral and maxillofacial health of their patients at all stages of treatment. The surgeon and staff strive to make patients comfortable and help them fully understand the procedure they are having. Patients of all ages and with a wide range of complications benefit from the advanced training and expertise of an oral surgeon.