Oral surgeons are needed for impacted teeth, missing teeth, and a number of other issues affecting the mouth, jaw, teeth and gums. Usually you would only consult an oral surgeon at your dentist’s recommendation.
One of the most common reasons people come to an oral surgeon is to remedy problems caused by wisdom teeth. Either there is not enough room in the mouth, or more commonly, a wisdom tooth does not come in and is stuck between the jawbone and the gum. Other teeth, such as the cuspids and the bicuspids, can also become impacted.
Impacted teeth can cause a wide range of problems–swelling, pain, infection, damage to nearby teeth, gums and bone, etc. An impacted tooth can even lead to jaw damage from the formation of cysts or tumors. So most dentists send people with impacted wisdom teeth to oral surgeons to have them removed.
Tooth loss is a second reason to visit an oral surgeon. Missing teeth can lead to a wide range of preventable problems, so we like to replace them with dentures, bridges or dental implants. Patients with adequate bone density, who are not prone to infections and are willing to practice good oral hygiene, are excellent candidates for dental implants.
Implants look and feel like natural teeth and are the preferred solution for many situations. They are easier to care for and last longer than dentures or bridges.
Dental implants consist of three main components:
- the implant body, which replaces the root of the missing tooth
- an abutment, which acts as a connector between the implant and the crown
- the crown, which is the visible and functional part of the tooth
Implants restore natural function and aesthetics. Whether you are missing one, several, or all of your teeth, dental implants can provide the foundation to smile and eat with confidence again. We can often place an implant in just one treatment visit.
Other Reasons to See an Oral Surgeon
Unequal jaw growth, poorly-fitting dentures, TMJ disorders, facial injuries and infections, lesions, cleft lips/cleft palates and sleep apnea can also be addressed by oral surgeons:
- When the jaws do not meet properly, and the problem cannot be solved with braces, we can move either jaw or both into more balanced, functional and healthy positions.
- When you get dentures, oral surgery might be necessary to correct any jaw irregularities before the dentures are made. In people who have been wearing dentures for a long time, deteriorated bone may need to be supported with bone grafts.
- TMJ disorders can usually be treated with medications, physical therapy and splints. In difficult cases, joint surgery is sometimes needed.
- Oral surgery is often used to repair facial traumas from accidents, and i Infections in the face, neck, or jaws can develop into life-threatening emergencies if not treated promptly. Surgical treatment may include cutting into and draining the infected area, as well as extracting any teeth involved.
- Abnormal growths or tissue can be biopsied by an oral surgeon for lab testing.
- For cleft lips and cleft palates, oral surgeons work as part of a health care team to close gaps in the lip and/or mouth roof.
- When nothing else has worked, sufferers of snoring and sleep apnea can get relief from oral surgery. Surgical procedures involve removing soft tissues in the back of the mouth or lower jaw. Laser surgery is a promising new option.
Oral surgeons play an important role in keeping smiles healthy. If you think your situation could be helped by oral surgery, don’t hesitate to call the Wilmington Oral Surgery team.