Our Procedures - Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

General Extractions

A dental extraction is the removal of a tooth from the mouth. Extractions are performed for a wide variety of reasons. Tooth decay that has destroyed enough tooth structure to prevent restoration is the most frequent indication for extraction of teeth. Extractions of impacted or problematic wisdom teeth are routinely performed, as are extractions of some permanent teeth to make space for orthodontic treatment.

The most common reason for extracting a tooth is tooth damage such as breakage or fracture. Some other possible reasons for tooth extraction are as follows:

  • Extra teeth which are blocking other teeth from coming in
  • Severe gum disease which may affect the supporting tissues and bone structures of teeth
  • Severe tooth decay or infection
  • In preparation for orthodontic treatment (braces)
  • Insufficient space for wisdom teeth (impacted wisdom teeth)
  • Receiving radiation to the head and neck may require extraction of teeth in the field of radiation

Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Wisdom teeth are third molars that usually appear between the ages of 17 and 24 (although they may appear when older, younger, or may not appear at all). They are commonly extracted when they affect other teeth—this impaction is colloquially known as "coming in sideways." A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. Wisdom teeth are extracted for two general reasons: either the wisdom teeth have already become impacted, or the wisdom teeth could potentially become problematic if not extracted. Potential problems caused by the presence of wisdom teeth include infections caused by food particles easily trapped in the jaw area behind the wisdom teeth where regular brushing and flossing is difficult and not effective. Such infections may be frequent, and cause considerable pain and medical danger. Another reason to have a wisdom tooth removed is if the tooth has grown in improperly. Also, it is a wise choice to have them removed if undergoing orthodontic work because once the teeth have come in there might not be enough space for the teeth to erupt properly, causing recurrent wounds or infection.

The extraction of wisdom teeth can be a simple, but also a difficult surgical procedure, and should only be performed by dental professionals with proper training and experience performing such extractions. The precise reasons why an individual’s wisdom teeth need to be extracted should be explained to them by their dentist, after an examination which almost certainly will need to include x-rays.

Dento-Alveolar Surgery

Dento-alveolar surgery involves the removal of impacted teeth, difficult extractions, and the exposure of teeth for orthodontic reasons. Diseases of the jawbone and soft tissue are also treated through this type of procedure. The goal of dentoalveolar surgery is to prepare the mouth for final restoration with either removable or non-removable dental appliances.

Dentoalveolar surgery is often a necessary step in order to achieve optimal results. Your dentist can help determine the right procedures for you.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is a "root" device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth. Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants (they appear similar to an actual tooth root), and are placed within the bone.

Dental implants can be used to support a number of dental prostheses, including crowns, implant-supported bridges or dentures. They can also be used as anchorage for orthodontic tooth movement. If you are missing a tooth, ask your dentist if you might be a good candidate for a dental implant--the next best thing to the teeth nature gives you!

Oral Tumors / Cancer

Oral tumors / cancer can develop anywhere in the oral cavity and oropharynx (or the back of the mouth where it connects with the throat). Some tumors are benign (noncancerous), some may be precancerous (a condition that may become cancerous), while others may be cancerous. Different types of oral cancer may develop in different areas of the mouth and throat. As part of your routine dental exam, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening exam.

Facial Cancer

Skin cancer can occur anywhere on your body but it's more likely to show up in areas that are exposed to the sun frequently. The face is especially susceptible. There are numerous treatments available for facial skin cancer, but the earlier it's diagnosed, the better prognosis you have. Keep track of any new growths, lesions or abnormal bumps on your face as well as the signs outlined below to identify pre-cancerous lesions before they turn into cancer and to receive treatment before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

TMJ Surgery

Pain located around the jaw joint is often described as TMJ. TMJ is actually an abbreviation for the anatomical name of the jaw joint, which is the Temporomandibular Joint. It is a unique joint which moves rotationally as well as forward, partially coming out of its socket each time we open our mouths. A disc is located within the joint, protecting the joint surface. The joint space is lined by a synovial membrane which keeps the inside of the joint lubricated for smooth movement.

TMJ problems may not necessarily originate from the joint structure itself. Often, the pain may originate from the surrounding muscles or ear. Sometimes, referred pain from teeth or even a heart problem can mimic TMJ pain. Therefore, pain located around the TMJ must be carefully evaluated.

True TMJ problems often present with a functional disturbance of the jaw with or without pain. A common problem I encounter includes a sudden inability to open the mouth with severe, well-localized pain in one of the joints; a loud, popping sound involving one or both joints with pain and frequent jaw locking; or painful, grinding sounds with limited opening of the jaw.

These disc disturbances are frequently caused by jaw trauma during an automobile accident, assault, and athletics. A jaw alignment problem such as a severe underbite may also lead to a disc problem. Also, chronic clenching or grinding of the teeth is thought to cause disc disease in the long term.

Multiple treatment options are available based on the diagnosis. Treatments include medical management, physical therapy, splints, orthodontics, joint injection, and actual surgical treatments. Accurate diagnosis is critical; an improper diagnosis may lead to worsening of the problem with long term consequences.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep.

As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. Sleep apnea is a leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness.

Untreated sleep apnea can:

  • Increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes
  • Increase the risk of, or worsen, heart failure
  • Make arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, more likely
  • Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people.

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