Wisdom teeth extractions and dental implants are the most common types of oral and maxillofacial surgery. However, oral and maxillofacial surgeons do so much more. They perform corrective jaw surgeries and can help with traumatic facial and jaw injuries.
If you have a dental or jaw condition or a facial injury, you can benefit from seeing this type of dental surgery provider. Your first step is to understand more about the common types of surgeries and when you should make an appointment.
In this guide, you’ll learn five things about oral and maxillofacial surgery to see how it can help you!
1. Can Treat Facial Trauma
Oral and maxillofacial surgery treats various traumatic injuries involving your face, jaw, nose, cheek, or eye socket.
If you’ve had a traumatic injury that’s caused damage to your face in any way, you may be referred to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These surgeons have extensive knowledge of how the jaw works and how to fix it, so it aligns correctly.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can treat soft tissue injuries, which include cuts or lacerations inside the mouth or on the face. Sometimes these injuries can damage facial nerves or salivary glands, so they’ll also address these issues during surgery.
Fractured facial or jaw bones require surgery that involves plates and screws to stabilize the bones and allow them to heal.
You can also turn to these dental surgery providers if you have a knocked-out tooth. As long as you can preserve the tooth in a cup of milk or by holding it in your mouth, an oral surgeon will typically be able to put your tooth back into place.
2. Best for Dental Implant Placement
The common misconception is that oral and maxillofacial surgery is only for complicated surgeries. However, oral surgeons are also expert dental surgeons. You can turn to them if you need oral surgery for dental implants.
Dental implants act as artificial tooth roots and are an excellent option for tooth loss. They have titanium posts that support artificial teeth. When you get dental implants, they need to be surgically implanted into your jaw.
This procedure typically occurs in different stages, and you’ll need healing time between the procedures. Depending on your condition, the entire process can take 6 to 8 months.
You also need to have enough jaw bone to support dental implants. An oral surgeon will evaluate your jawbone and perform a bone grafting procedure.
Bone grafting involves using your own bone. The new bone material is placed in the jaw around the area of bone loss. Over time, new bone will regenerate.
An oral surgeon will be with you every step of the way, from the consultation to the recovery process.
3. Includes Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Many people face problems with their wisdom teeth at some point during their lives. Often wisdom teeth can become trapped or impacted in the jawbone, underneath the gum tissue. Other people develop problems like:
- Fluid-filled cysts around the wisdom teeth
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Damage to adjacent teeth
An experienced oral surgeon can advise you when wisdom tooth removal is necessary. They will work with you to form a treatment plan.
Oral surgeons will also ensure you have the right amount of anesthesia. Having adequate anesthesia will ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure.
They can also perform other types of dental extractions and offer solutions for replacing the tooth afterward. Once you have a tooth extraction, there is no longer a tooth root to stimulate the jawbone. As a result, you’ll start to have bone loss in the affected area immediately.
An oral surgeon can perform a bone grafting procedure during tooth removal. Doing this allows you to have enough bone to support an implant later.
4. Provides Treatment for Oral Cancer
Oral cancers can form in the neck, throat, or mouth. Many people experience symptoms such as:
- Tooth mobility problems
- Mouth sores that won’t heal
- Red or white patches
- Bleeding from the mouth
Your dentist will screen for oral cancer during your yearly dental exams. However, not everybody sees a dentist regularly to catch this cancer in its early stages.
An oral surgeon will first evaluate the area of concern and perform an oral biopsy. During this procedure, your surgeon will remove a small amount of tissue from your mouth. This tissue will be sent to a pathologist to determine if the cells are cancerous.
Your oral surgeon will then recommend further treatment if necessary. They’ll be able to connect you with other healthcare providers, like an oncologist, if you need chemotherapy.
Finally, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can help with reconstructive facial or jaw surgeries after oral cancer treatment is complete.
5. Performs Corrective Jaw Surgeries
You can also see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for corrective jaw surgery. If you have TMJ, you may need to see an oral surgeon for TMJ surgery. During this surgery, your surgeon will repair and reposition the jaw to relieve symptoms.
Jaw surgery can also correct problems with your bite. Some people have bite irregularities that impact how they chew food or speak. These problems can also make it difficult for people to close their mouths normally.
Corrective jaw surgeries can correct underbites, crossbites, and overbites. A misaligned jaw often contributes to these conditions, so you may need surgery and braces.
Learn More About Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Now that you know about oral and maxillofacial surgery, you’ll better understand the wide range of conditions it can treat.
If you’re looking for an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you can turn to Jenkins, Morrow & Gayheart for all your needs.
We offer dental implants, wisdom tooth removal, tooth extractions, and bone grafting. We also can help you if you’ve experienced a facial injury in an accident or need surgery to diagnose a growth in your mouth or tongue.
We’re committed to giving you state-of-the-art care before and after surgery. We look forward to helping you, so contact us today to schedule an appointment!