What Is Oral Surgery?
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgery refers to a series of surgical procedures performed on the areas of the oral cavity, including your teeth, gums, head, jaw, and face.
Tooth removal, corrective jaw surgery, dental implant surgery, dental bone graft, and gum graft are examples of oral surgery procedures.
Who Performs Oral or Dental Surgery?
If your general dentist believes your dental problem will require surgical intervention, you will be referred to an oral surgeon. Oral surgical procedures are performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or other oral surgery specialists like endodontists, periodontists, or prosthodontists.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons vs General Dentists
A general dentist and an oral surgeon have attended four years of dental school.
Oral surgeons must complete an additional four-year surgical hospital residency program after completing dental school.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists with extra years of training in performing an oral surgery procedure.
The Most Common Types of Oral Surgery
Various dental issues may need surgical interventions by an oral surgery specialist to improve your oral health and prevent possible future complications.
Below you can see some of the most common types of oral and maxillofacial surgery procedures:
Tooth loss may occur to anyone for several reasons and compromise their self-esteem. Dental implants replace missing teeth and improve a person’s self-confidence and oral health. The oral surgeon will place titanium or zirconia small posts into the patient’s jaw bone to replace their lost tooth roots during this surgical procedure.
These artificial tooth roots will anchor and support future artificial teeth. Dental Implants will look and function like your natural teeth.
If you need to replace your lost teeth and need more information about implants, you can find a comprehensive article here: Dental Implants
Dental Bone Graft
Patients with tooth loss need sufficient bone mass and quality to qualify for dental implants. People who lack enough bone structure to support the implants require an oral surgery called bone grafting to compensate for the bone loss by restoring volume and density in the jaw bone.
People with severe tooth decay, impacted teeth (wisdom teeth), trauma, or gum disease may need to have their teeth removed by an oral surgeon.
In some cases, oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform a tooth extraction to prepare the patient’s mouth for orthodontic treatment, placement of dentures, or other prosthetic devices.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are our third molars located at the back of our mouth and typically will emerge around ages 17 to 21. Some people have healthy wisdom teeth that have emerged correctly and do not pose any problem.
However, a wisdom tooth usually becomes impacted or hidden beneath the gum and requires oral surgery to be removed because it may lead to misalignment of the other teeth. Moreover, impacted wisdom teeth can make dental care a challenge for the person because food debris can stuck around them and cause tooth decay or gum disease.
Many dentists in Brisbane suggest the removal of wisdom teeth even if they are healthy to prevent possible complications. Wisdom tooth extraction will be done by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a general dentist, depending on your unique situation.
Your general dentist or oral surgeon will perform the removal of wisdom tooth extraction under local anesthesia.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep-related breathing disorder causing the person’s breathing to constantly stop and start while asleep. The condition needs attention; otherwise, it may lead to snoring, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, liver problems, and daytime fatigue.
- Mild cases: Lifestyle changes
- Moderate cases: can be successfully treated with a CPAP machine or oral appliance therapy
- Severe cases or if other treatment options won’t work: Oral surgery
Periodontal disease is the infection and inflammation of your gums and requires dental care. The disease can be treated with antibiotics or scaling and root planing in mild cases. In severe cases, surgery is necessary to remove plaque and infection from underneath the patient’s gums.
During surgery, oral surgeons will make small incisions along the patient’s gum line to flush away the bacteria. The gum tissue will then be sutured.
Jaw Joint surgery
Oral surgeons will perform surgery to treat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Not all jaw problems require surgery. Oral surgeons will perform the surgery if the patient has had severe jaw damage due to osteoarthritis, an accident, or a bone infection.
Corrective jaw surgery, aka orthognathic surgery, is an option to fix skeletal abnormality and misalignment in the jaw bone.
Corrective jaw surgery can be an effective treatment option to:
- improve the appearance and facial imbalances
- improve chewing
- relieve pain from TMJ dysfunction
Oral surgeons sometimes perform oral surgery to fix cleft lip and palate issues.
Is Oral Surgery Painful?
Often, oral surgeons perform the procedure in the dental clinic as an outpatient procedure, depending on what type of surgery the patient requires.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will administer local anesthesia before starting the procedure. A local anesthetic will numb the surgical area, and the patient will not feel any pain or discomfort.
If the oral surgery specialist decides to administer general anesthesia, the patient will be unconscious during surgical procedures and will not feel any pain or anxiety.
Risks or Complications of Oral Surgery
While dental surgical procedures have several overall and dental benefits for the patient, they are not altogether free of risks.
- Bleeding and swelling
- Injury to nearby tissues
- Root fragments
- Sinus complications
- Dry socket
How Long Does Oral Surgery Take?
Depending on the type of the procedure, oral surgery can take anywhere between 45 minutes to 3 hours.
After Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Your oral surgery specialist may ask you to follow these instructions to prevent possible complications and accelerate healing.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Take your pain medication as prescribed by the dentist
- Do not drink your beverages through a straw following an extraction
- Use an ice pack to help with the inflammation
- Your dentist may ask you to stick to soft foods for a few days following your oral surgery
- Smaller meals and snacks are preferred to a full meal
Brisbane Pure Dentistry
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