Oral Surgery focuses on the diagnosis and surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects related to the functional and aesthetic aspects of the face, mouth, teeth and jaws (maxillofacial area).
An oral surgery includes the following:
Removing diseased and impacted teeth and administering anaesthesia.
An oral surgeon can remove impacted and damaged teeth and provide anaesthesia services, including intravenous (IV) sedation and general anaesthesia.
Placing dental implants. Oral surgeons can reconstruct bone in areas requiring it for implant placement and, when necessary or desired, modify gum tissue around the implants to produce a more natural and attractive appearance.
Treating facial trauma. Oral surgeons can repair minor-to-complex facial skin lacerations, set fractured jaw and facial bones, reconnect severed nerves and treat other facial injuries involving the oral tissues, jaws, cheek and nasal bones, eye sockets, and the forehead.
Evaluating pathologic conditions. Oral surgeons treat patients with benign cysts and tumors of the mouth and face, as well as people with malignant oral, head and neck cancer, and severe infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaws and neck.
Alleviating facial pain. An oral surgeon can diagnose and treat facial pain disorders, including those caused by temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. Your oral surgeon can order imaging studies of the joints and make appropriate referrals to other dental and medical specialists, or a physical therapist. When non-surgical treatment is insufficient or there is definite joint damage, your oral surgeon may suggest surgery.
Performing reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. Oral surgeons can correct jaw, facial bone and facial soft tissue problems that result from trauma or the removal of cysts and tumors. Such corrective surgeries restore form and function to the maxillofacial area and often involve using skin, bone, nerves and different tissues from other parts of the body to reconstruct the jaws and face
Performing corrective jaw (orthognathic) surgery. Oral surgeons correct minor and major skeletal and dental jaw irregularities to improve chewing, speaking and breathing. Usually in collaboration with an orthodontist (a dental specialist who treats improper bites or malocclusions), an oral surgeon surgically reconstructs and realigns the upper and lower jaws into proper dental and facial relationships in order to improve biting function and facial appearance. Oral surgeons also surgically correct birth (congenital) defects of the face and skull, such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
Providing surgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If your dentist suspects that you have a sleep disorder, you will likely be referred to a sleep clinic for a polysomnography, an overnight clinic test that monitors your sleep patterns. Your dentist then will help select the best treatment for you based on whether your OSA is mild, moderate or severe. If non-surgical treatments such as behavior modification or oral appliances do not work, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for a surgical procedure. Surgical procedures to correct sleep apnea include:
• Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, which shortens and stiffens the soft palate by partially removing the uvula and the edge of the soft palate to correct airway collapses
• Genioglossus advancement, which opens the upper breathing passage by tightening the front tongue tendon, reducing tongue displacement into the throat
• Maxillomandibular advancement, which surgically moves both jaws forward to open the upper airway
What type of post-treatment care will I need to follow?
Post-operative care following a tooth extraction is essential for healing and preventing complications. You will be instructed to avoid certain foods and also keep the surgical site clean at all times. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, it is important that you complete the course of treatment to prevent infection. Finally, you may be advised to avoid smoking or drinking through a straw, as doing so may delay the healing process and cause a condition known as ‘dry socket.’
Do I need to get my wisdom teeth removed?
You may need to get your wisdom teeth removed if you have one or more impacted wisdom teeth or if you are having difficulty adequately cleaning those that have emerged. It is recommended that all young adults be evaluated. A consultation and x-ray can reveal impaction, damage to neighbouring teeth, signs of decay, gum disease, or perceived complications with future wisdom tooth eruption.
What should I expect during a wisdom teeth removal?
Most wisdom removals take only minutes to perform, but you’ll be under anaesthesia or sedation to prevent discomfort. Once the teeth are removed, the gums are sutured shut.
Will I need to follow any special instructions following my wisdom teeth removal procedure?
Yes. You’ll need to keep the extraction site clean and free of debris for the first couple of weeks after the wisdom teeth removal. You’ll also need to take all medications exactly as prescribed by the doctor. Avoid sucking through a straw for the first several days after surgery, and notify the doctor if you experience fever or discomfort that worsens after a few days.