An oral surgeon is a dentist who specializes in treating diseases and injuries in the mouth, jaw, neck, and face. They can perform various procedures, including dental implants, wisdom teeth removal, facial reconstruction, and facial cosmetic surgery. They are highly trained professionals with great expertise in all areas of the oral cavity.
In this article, we will discuss what an oral surgeon is, the specialty areas of oral surgery they focus on, common procedures they perform, and why you might need one.
What is an Oral Surgeon?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a type of dentist who has gone through additional training beyond dental school to specialize in treating diseases and injuries related to the mouth. They are experts in diagnosing conditions affecting hard and soft tissues in the mouth, such as teeth, gums or gum tissues, cheeks, and lips. In addition to providing general dental services like crowns or fillings for cavities, they also have advanced degrees in diagnosing complex problems such as impacted wisdom teeth or malocclusions (misaligned bites).
Common Oral Surgery Procedures
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can perform various procedures to treat different conditions in the mouth, jaw, and face.
#1. Tooth Extractions
Tooth removal is a last resort when other treatments, such as root canals or crowns, cannot save the tooth. This procedure involves removing a tooth from its socket in the jawbone using simple instruments or surgical tools. The extracted tooth can be either a decayed, damaged, or impacted wisdom tooth. Surgical extractions are also performed to make room for orthodontic treatment, such as braces.
#2. Dental Implant Placement
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in the jaw bone to replace missing teeth. Oral surgeons have extensive training and experience in implant placement, making them well-qualified to perform the procedure. During dental implant placement, the oral surgeon will create an opening in the bone, place a titanium post into the opening, attach a custom-made abutment and tooth crown, and then close the gums. Once the implant has been successfully placed, it will eventually become fused to the surrounding bone.
#3. Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure performed by oral surgeons to remove impacted wisdom teeth, which are third molars found in the back of your mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling and infection, and can also lead to overcrowding of other teeth in the mouth if left untreated.
Oral surgeons are highly trained in extracting wisdom teeth and will use advanced methods such as sedation dentistry to ensure the procedure is comfortable for the patient.
#4. Periodontal Surgery
This type of dental surgery involves treating various gum diseases, such as gingivitis and periodontitis. This procedure is usually done when other treatment options, such as antibiotics or deep cleaning, have not been effective in treating the condition. During this procedure, the oral surgeon will cut away excess gum tissue to expose and remove plaque and tartar buildup. They may also use grafting techniques to restore receded gums or regenerate bone that has been lost due to periodontal disease.
#5. Bone Grafting Procedure
An oral surgeon can perform a dental bone graft if you have suffered bone loss due to periodontal disease or injury. During this procedure, the oral surgeon will take a piece of healthy bone from another area of your body and place it into the jawbone to restore lost tissue. The graft is then covered with a membrane that helps stimulate new bone growth.
#6. Corrective Jaw Surgery
Also known as orthognathic surgery or orthognathic reconstructive surgery, this procedure is used to correct misalignment of the jaws. This surgery can help relieve TMJ pain and improve chewing, speaking, and breathing functions.
#7. Sleep Apnea Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to perform surgical procedures to treat snoring and sleep apnea. This sleep disorder is caused by an obstruction in the upper airway that prevents you from breathing properly at night. In severe cases, oral surgery may be recommended to open up the airways and reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
#8. Cleft Lip and Palate Repair
This procedure involves correcting the separation of the roof of the mouth, the upper lip, and the nose, which is caused by a cleft lip or cleft palate. During this procedure, the oral surgeon will close the gap between the roof of the mouth and the upper lip using stitches or a skin graft.
#9. Oral Pathology
Oral pathology is a branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating diseases in the mouth, jaw, and face. An oral pathologist specializes in detecting and diagnosing abnormalities or infections related to oral health. To make a correct diagnosis, an oral pathologist will typically inspect tissue samples taken from the mouth or throat with a microscope. These tissue samples may be used to diagnose oral cancer, gum disease, and other conditions.
#10. Facial Trauma Repair
Facial trauma repair is a surgical procedure performed by an oral surgeon to correct disfigurement or damage of the face caused by injury, infection, or congenital disabilities. This surgery can involve reconstructing facial bones and soft tissues to restore function and aesthetic appearance. An oral surgeon may use bone grafts, metal plates, screws, and other materials to reconstruct the damaged area. Depending on the severity of the injury, multiple surgeries may be required.
When to See an Oral Surgeon
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are necessary when a patient requires specialized care for diseases or injuries affecting their mouth, jaw, neck, and face. As experts in these areas, oral surgeons have extensive knowledge of diagnosing conditions and performing complex procedures such as dental implants or facial reconstruction.
It is essential to seek out a qualified oral surgeon if you believe you may be suffering from any type of condition related to your mouth, jaw, or neck area. Common signs that you should see an oral surgeon include severe toothaches, difficulty chewing and speaking, swollen jaw joints, loose teeth, and receding gums.
Do You Need Oral Surgery? Contact Us Today!
At Kids and Family Dentistry, we offer a wide range of treatments and procedures that are designed to meet your individual needs. Our team of experienced surgeons will work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your particular situation and provide personalized care that meets your needs.
We take pride in providing our patients with the highest quality of dental care and we look forward to helping you achieve your oral health goals. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!