If you have a tooth that’s been hurting for weeks, it’s likely the result of an untreated cavity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 26% of adults have an untreated cavity.

When you have a cavity, you usually consult your dentist to look at it, which can lead to the need for oral surgery. But, what if you don’t have a cavity and your teeth are still bothering you? What are the other reasons you may need to see an oral surgeon?

Continue reading the following to learn more on oral and maxillofacial surgery.

What Is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

A dentist refers their patients to an oral surgeon when they require surgery. The referral to the surgeon is made for a specific reason.

Only oral and maxillofacial surgeons are mandated to possess the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver IV sedation and general anesthesia. The specialist is also the only one with the core knowledge to treat injuries and diseases around the mouth area.

The practice of Jenkins, Morrow, and Gayheart offers compassionate care for those in need of dental surgery. We strive to provide you with the best level of safety and comfort during your procedure at our office.

Is an Oral Surgeon the Same as a Dentist?

Perhaps you have always assumed that dentists perform oral surgery on their patients. So, it can be difficult to understand why you must see someone else for surgery. They both work on teeth, so what’s the difference between a dentist and an oral surgeon?

Some of their duties may overlap; for example, dentists also extract teeth. Although, there are key differences in an oral and maxillofacial surgeon role than dentists. Also, surgeons receive training and education that goes above the responsibilities of a dentist. 

However, the main difference is that dentists handle routine dental procedures, while oral surgeons handle complex cases. Nevertheless, both professionals have a passion for treating and preventing oral health problems.

When Will a Dentist Refer You for Dental Oral Surgery?

During your visit with your dentist, they will check your oral health for cavities, signs of gum disease, wisdom teeth, or jaw issues. If your mouth shows any of these signs, the dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon. 

Depending on your situation, the surgeon may perform surgery to improve your oral heal. Let’s explore some of the procedures an oral and maxillofacial surgeon may perform.

Unaligned Teeth

If you’re suffering from an overbite or underbite, the dentist may first refer you to an orthodontist. Many cases of improper tooth alignment can be corrected with braces or other orthodontic tools. 

Although at times, an orthodontist may not be able to correct your teeth due to an issue with your jaw. If that happens, then it’s necessary for you to see an oral surgeon.

Impacted Teeth

A person’s wisdom teeth often grow uncomfortably, causing impacted teeth procedures. Nevertheless, impacted teeth can also occur in other parts of the mouth.

In most cases, a person’s teeth emerge from the gum line, and the jaw has enough space to accommodate them. However, the teeth may come in crooked or only come out halfway when this does not happen. 

Due to how the teeth emerge, it can cause soreness of the gums or infections surrounding the tissues of the teeth. Impacted teeth can result in cysts or tumors, which can destroy entire jaw sections in extreme cases.

If your dentist sees any impacted teeth, then they’ll make a referral for maxillofacial surgery. The dentist might also refer a patient to a specialist for bicuspids or cuspids since they can cause the same problem as impacted teeth.

Dental Implants 

If you recently lost a tooth, no worries, as you can easily replace the tooth with an implant. Dentists will often refer their patients to an oral surgeon for dental implants. Following the placement of your titanium implant, your dentist will attach your crown at your next appointment.

A dental implant can replace a missing tooth following an accident or infection. They can also be an option for those who do not want bridges or dentures.

If you plan to receive dental implants, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will have to assess your bone density and level. You’ll also have to be free of infections and maintain good oral hygiene. 

Treatment for Oral Cancer

If you’re showing signs of oral cancer, then the dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon. They not only treat cancer of the mouth, but they also treat areas of the head and neck. 

You may see an oral surgeon if you’re showing cancer signs in the salivary glands, sinuses, throat, or lips. Below are other conditions that may require maxillofacial surgery:

  • A facial infection
  • Biopsy
  • Lesion removal from the mouth or face
  • Neurological repair
  • Repair of facial injuries
  • Surgery for cleft lips and cleft palate

Get in touch with your dentist if you have tooth or gum problems. They may be able to help. Alternatively, you can consult with an oral surgeon if you have any of the above symptoms.

What Are the Signs You Need Oral Surgery?

Before you call your dentist, you may show signs of needing surgery to improve your oral health. If you’re not sure, here are some signs you may need dental oral surgery:

  • Pain from tooth or gums
  • Swollen and red gums
  • Tooth loss
  • Insufficient bone density
  • Having problems with sleeping at night due to pain

Wisdom teeth, implants, and tooth extraction are among the most common reasons for oral surgery. You may also be able to get relief from obstructive sleep apnea with the help of an oral surgeon.

Contact Our Practice for Your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

When it comes to your oral health, you should receive the highest level of care. Since surgery can be a frightening experience, you want someone compassionate to help ease your worries. 

We at Jenkins, Morrow, & Gayheart aim to provide our patients with exceptional care when it comes to oral surgery. So if you’re looking for an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky, contact us today!