Reasons Why You Might Need An Oral Surgeon

September 2016

Not exactly sure what an oral surgeon does? Think we just do wisdom teeth? Think again! This post helps sum up just a few of our specialties that you or someone you know may need us for.

Missing Tooth/ Failed Root Canal

Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teethsmile with a missing tooth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.

Implants are titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jaw where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchor crowns.

Implants also help preserve facial structure, preventing bone deterioration that occurs when teeth are missing.

Impacted Canines or Wisdom Teeth

7 Myths About Toothaches Myth 1

An impacted tooth simply means that it is stuck and cannot erupt into the mouth. The maxillary cuspid (upper eyetooth) is the second most common tooth to become impacted. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth in the mouth and plays an important role in your bite. The cuspid teeth are very strong biting teeth and have the longest roots of any human teeth. They are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite.

Normally, the maxillary cuspid teeth are the last of the front teeth to erupt into place. They usually come into place around age 13. If a cuspid tooth gets impacted, every effort is made to get it to erupt into its proper position in the dental arch.

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.

These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in the destruction of the bone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.

 

Traumatic Injury

The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training involving a hands on experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patients long term function and appearance.

Drs Thomas, Hackenberger, Alamat, Kraemer, Orzech, and Osguthorpe meet and exceed these modern standards. They are trained, skilled, and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. They are on staff at local hospitals and deliver emergency room coverage for facial injuries, which include the following conditions:

  • Intra oral lacerations
  • Avulsed (knocked out) teeth
  • Fractured facial bones (cheek, nose or eye socket)
  • Fractured jaws (upper and lower jaw)

 

Bone Grafting

Over a period of time, the jaw associated with missing teeth will disappear. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants.

Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and esthetic appearance.

 

Oral Pathology

The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:

image of tongue

  • Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.

These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.

We would recommend that you see a general dentist every 6 months to perform oral hygiene and pathology screening.

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

man on sofa snoring

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.

Repeated cycles of decreased oxygenation lead to very serious cardiovascular problems. Additionally, these individuals suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and loss of concentration.

The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons offer consultation and treatment options.