Ideal oral health involves making sure that teeth are not only healthy but that the surrounding structures in and around the mouth function correctly. Maxillofacial Surgery, more commonly known as oral surgery, focuses on treating many diseases, injuries, and defects in the head, neck, face, jaws, and hard and soft tissues of the mouth.
Oral surgery is essential for addressing both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the areas listed above. Oral surgery is often combined with other treatments such as dental implants, orthodontics, and periodontal disease. While many are familiar with standard procedures such as wisdom teeth extraction, you may not be aware of all the treatments that include oral surgery, such as:
Oral surgery involves a wide variety of techniques and treatments, all designed to address different needs and restore your smile to its optimal health. You may need oral surgery if you’re experiencing any of these eight common issues:
Periodontal Disease: Bacteria deeply embedded in gum tissue may only be removed with surgical treatments. Sometimes laser surgery is also used.
Root Canal Damage or Infection: Root canal therapy is the removal of the infected inner chamber or pulp of a tooth and preserves a tooth’s structure and function.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth usually cause overcrowding, misalignment, or malocclusion, and can pose a risk for infection.
Damaged or Infected Teeth: With extensive damage, sometimes the only solution is extraction, and it can prevent infection from spreading to surrounding teeth and the rest of your body.
Jawbone Resorption: A weak jawbone can be strengthened with bone grafting surgery. This treatment reinforces the jaw and prepares your mouth for dental implants.
TMJ Disorders: TMD can significantly affect your oral health and cause pain when opening or closing your mouth and when chewing. Facial pain and reoccurring headaches are typical symptoms as well. There are several types of surgical treatments available that can improve or resolve these issues.
Snoring/Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a common but serious disorder that takes place while sleeping and temporarily blocks your airways.There are many types of surgeries for sleep apnea and snoring that can help you get better rest and improve your quality of life.
Many people are fearful at the thought of oral surgery, but the truth is most procedures are gentle and performed using modern methods and tools to make your treatments safe, comfortable, and successful. For many people, a simple dental surgery can have life-changing results.
Treatment with oral surgery is designed to address, treat, and alleviate a wide variety of conditions and issues. Below are some notable advantages to receiving care with oral surgery.
Fixing Facial Trauma– includes correcting minor to complex skin tears, setting fractured jaw and facial bones, reconnecting detached nerves, and remedying other injuries. This often involves treating the oral tissues, jaws, cheeks and nasal bones, eye sockets, and forehead.
Providing Reconstructive and Cosmetic Enhancements – can correct jaw, facial bone, and soft tissue issues that have developed due to trauma or the removal of cysts or tumors. These surgeries restore form and function to the maxillofacial area.
Alleviating Facial, Dental, or Oral Pain- may include diagnosing and treating facial discomfort disorders such as TMJ issues. When non-surgical treatment has not been enough for easing pain or there is joint damage, treatment with oral surgery is often recommended.
Correcting Jaw Injuries or Misalignment– focuses on treating minor to significant skeletal and dental jaw irregularities to improve chewing, speaking, and breathing. Often in collaboration with an orthodontist, these procedures reconstruct the upper and lower jaws to match proper dental and maxillofacial balance. Oral surgery can also correct hereditary disabilities of the face and skull, such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
Your dental professional will provide you with information on what you need to do before you undergo surgery, aftercare instructions, and what kind of medication you may need to take.
If you undergo general anesthesia, you may be asked not to eat any food or drinks before your surgery. Consider bringing a friend or relative to your appointment, as driving after your procedure may not be safe. When you enter the procedure room, they will explain what will happen next and can offer you pain medication or a sedative for your comfort.
You may need to take off work for a day or two and avoid strenuous exercise. You may also need to take antibiotics and pain relief medicines for a while, and you may need to avoid certain types of foods and drinks.
The cost of oral surgery depends on the type of treatment or procedures you will be going through, the complexity of the reason for treatment, and the type of anesthesia or sedation needed. Discussing costs with your dentist can clarify your options. Choosing local anesthesia versus general anesthesia can reduce the cost of the procedure. They can also work with your insurance company to help maximize your benefits.
If you don’t have dental insurance, your dental office may offer a discount program or in-house funding to get the care you need. Be sure to discuss all the possible options with your dentists before deciding which kind of oral surgery to choose.
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