Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are dental specialists who diagnosis and treat diseases, injuries, and defects of the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws and neck. There are many different types of oral surgery performed by these dental specialists. Three of the most common surgeries are wisdom teeth removal , tooth extractions, and dental implants.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth removal is a common type of oral surgery. Your wisdom teeth are the third molars in each of the four dental quadrants. Some people never develop their wisdom teeth but most people have them. When wisdom teeth become impacted under the gum tissue a panoramic X-ray can assess the state of the teeth. They can then be extracted in the oral surgeon’s office. Wisdom teeth are also extracted when they cause overcrowding or shifting of other teeth in a patient’s mouth.
Before removing your wisdom teeth, your dentist will give you a local or general anesthetic. While a local anesthetic numbs a specific area of your mouth, a general anesthetic allows you to sleep through the surgery without any discomfort. After the teeth are removed your dentist will stitch up the area so that it can heal properly. You will leave the office with gauze to help stop the bleeding. It generally takes no more than a few days for your gums to heal. Your dentist will give you a prescription for pain medication and a list of tips for speeding the recovery process.
In addition to wisdom teeth removal, sometimes it is necessary to have other teeth extracted. For example, extractions are performed if the dentist wants to make room for other teeth or if there is tooth abscess. The surgery is similar to wisdom teeth removal. Your dentist gives you an anesthetic to keep you comfortable during the surgery. You may need stitches afterwards which either dissolve on their own or are removed later on. You will receive pain medication and a list of instructions. For example, after 24 hours you will begin rinsing gently with warm salt water to promote healing.
When you have missing teeth, either due to decay or injury, they can be replaced with dental implants. Your dentist fits you for replacement teeth that match the shade of your other teeth. Implants are the roots that the new teeth are attached to. The posts are made of titanium which fuses to the bone in your gums. Your jawbone will heal around the implant, anchoring it securely. It can take anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks to heal.
When the jawbone is healed the dentist will attach a small connector post (an abutment) to the post which will hold the new tooth. The new tooth (or crown) is attached to the abutment. The new tooth will act the same as your other teeth.
These are three treatments often performed by oral surgeons. They also take care of issues with TMJ, sleep apnea and facial injury repair.
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