Oral and maxillofacial surgery specializes in treating many diseases, injuries and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. Oral surgery refers to many procedures like wisdom teeth extraction, jaw surgery, treatment of facial trauma, dental implants, bone grafting, pre-prosthetic surgery, and impactions.
Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution to replace lost teeth. They form a strong foundation for teeth and keep the jaws healthy and strong. Implants support individual replacement teeth or secure specialized dentures in place. Unlike bridges, no healthy teeth are damaged. Unlike most bridges, implants can last a lifetime. Implant-supported replacement teeth can be attractive, stable and comfortable for almost any patient.
Wisdom teeth extraction
Although most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting, they are called impacted wisdom teeth. This indicates their inability to erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning.
If you do not have enough room in your mouth for your third molars to fully erupt, a number of problems may arise. Impacted third molar should be removed before their root structure is fully developed. In some patients, it is as early as 12 or 13, and in others, it may not be until the early twenties. Problems tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30. Some of the possible problems related to not removing your wisdom teeth include:
- Cyst formation
- Possible crowding of teeth
- Damage to adjacent teeth
Some patients require minor oral surgical procedures before receiving a partial or complete denture in order to ensure the maximum level of comfort. Some of the pre-prosthetic surgeries are as follows:
- Bone smoothing and reshaping
- Removal of excess bone
- Removal of excess gums
- Exposure of impacted teeth
Some teeth are extracted because they are severely decayed; others may have advanced periodontal disease or have broken in a way that cannot be repaired. Other teeth may need removal because they are poorly positioned in the mouth (such as impacted), or in preparation for orthodontic treatment.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease, or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw.
Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, corrects irregularities of the jaw bones and realigns the jaws and teeth to improve the way they work. Making these corrections may also improve the facial appearance of the patient. Jaw surgery is appropriate after growth stops.
Jaw surgery can help in the following ways:
- Make biting and chewing easier and improve chewing overall
- Correct problems with swallowing and speech
- Repair facial injury or birth defects