Have you had oral surgery?
Did you know that the removal of wisdom teeth and dental implants are the most common types of oral surgery? Yet, there are many more oral surgeries performed each year.
Increasing your knowledge of the different practitioners and types of procedures will benefit you if you have problems. Understanding these subjects allows you to make informed decisions about your care.
Continue reading to learn more about common oral surgeries and specialist referrals.
What is an Oral or Maxillofacial Surgeon?
Do you want to know more about what an oral and maxillofacial surgeon does? Learning this information allows you to know why your dentist is making a referral.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are dentists who have completed a 6-year residency program. Upon completion of the residency, they received a medical degree.
These surgeons focus on injuries and problems occurring in the head, neck, face, and jaw. They treat both hard and soft tissue complications in these areas.
Their training includes the administration of anesthesia. Thus, many surgeons complete procedures in their office. Common issues treated by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon include:
- Wisdom teeth extraction
- Misaligned jaws
- Cleft lip and/or cleft palate
- Dental implant surgery
This surgical specialty has approval from the American College of Surgeons. It’s also one of 9 dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, and the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.
Common Types of Oral Surgery
Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons perform many surgeries to correct deformities, disease, and injuries. The following are some of the common surgeries performed.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last molar to grow in your mouth. For some individuals, this presents no problem. Other people may not have enough room for these teeth to come in fully.
Some wisdom teeth become stuck or impacted in the jawbone. This can push other teeth out of alignment. These wisdom teeth can also cause pain and increase the risk of gum disease.
You will receive sedation and/or anesthesia before beginning the procedure. Many people sleep and do not remember the surgery.
The surgeon makes an incision in the gum and removes any bone that is in the way. He/she then removes the tooth and cleans out any debris. The surgeon closes the incision with stitches and covers it with gauze.
Once you wake up, you will be able to return home. Follow your doctor’s orders, take pain medication as prescribed, and rest that day. You may be able to return to normal activity the next day but avoid strenuous activity for a week.
Today, many people have dental implant procedures to replace missing teeth. You may need several procedures to complete the process. Some individuals must have a damaged tooth removed or bone grafting.
The next step often involves placing a metal post in the jawbone. The bone grows around the post. The final step is the placement of a natural-looking artificial tooth.
This procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgeon will provide sedation or anesthesia for procedures that are painful. You will receive instructions for care following each step of the process.
Some individual’s jaws are not aligned in a normal way. This may be due to trauma, birth defects, or misaligned teeth. This can create problems with appearance and with proper function in the mouth.
The surgeon works to correct the underlying cause of the problem. The goal is to improve facial structure and regain normal function.
The complexity of the surgery determines whether this will be an outpatient or inpatient procedure. You will receive anesthesia before the surgery begins. This procedure is often completed inside your mouth which decreases noticeable scarring.
Jaw surgery involves cutting and moving the jawbones. You may also have tiny bone plates, screws, wires, and/or rubber bands placed. Some procedures need extra bone graphs taken from the hip, leg, or rib.
Following surgery, your jaw may be wired shut for a time and/or you may require braces. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about your post-operative care.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Repair
A cleft palate describes a birth defect in which part of the mouth and nasal cavity grow together. This causes a split in the upper roof of the mouth. There is often also a split in the upper lip.
The surgeries to repair this birth defect take place as follows:
- Cleft lip repair between 3 and 6 months of age
- Cleft palate repair by age 12 months at the latest
- Further surgeries between age 2 and the late teen years
These surgeries take place in the hospital under general anesthesia. The cleft lip repair involves the creation of a flap of tissue from each side of the cleft. These flaps are then sutured together creating a more normal looking lip.
If there are problems with the nasal cavity, it’s often repaired at the same time as the cleft lip surgery.
The surgeon uses several procedures to rebuild and repair the cleft palate. The procedure depends on the child’s specific structural defect. Following the repair, the surgeon closes the gap with stitches.
Some children with a cleft palate may have ear tubes inserted. This decreases the risk of a chronic buildup of ear fluid which could cause hearing loss.
These surgeries improve the child’s appearance and quality of life. They increase their ability to eat, breathe, and talk. Some children need more surgeries to ensure all the needs are met.
Do You Enjoy Learning About Health Issues?
This article focused on the common types of oral surgery. Many people undergo some type of surgery during their lives. Increasing your knowledge of health issues allows you to better understand your healthcare provider’s instructions.
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