Dental Problems Treated by Oral Surgery

Your family, general, or pediatric dentist or orthodontist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for some dental treatments that require oral surgery. An oral surgeon is a specialist who has graduated from an accredited dental school and also completed additional education and residency related to surgical procedures needed to treat various oral diseases and conditions. An oral surgeon is trained in treating the following conditions:

  • Removal of diseased or impacted teeth
  • Placement of dental implants
  • Treatment of facial trauma involving gums, jaws, nasal cavities, cheekbones, eye sockets, and forehead
  • Evaluation of pathologic conditions such as cysts and tumors of the mouth and face or acute infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, neck, and jaws
  • Treatment of facial pain including those caused by temporomandibular (TMJ) problems
  • Cosmetic or reconstructive surgery to correct jaw, facial bone, and facial soft tissue problems
  • Corrective jaw surgery
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate repair
  • Surgical treatment for sleep apnea

There are many different techniques that oral surgeons use to accomplish your treatment goals. The choice of techniques may vary between surgeons and should be discussed between you and your surgeon prior to the procedure.

Many oral surgery procedures can be completed in an outpatient setting. Often you are only in the office for a few hours and can return to your regular routine in a matter of days. A good oral surgeon will be able to perform these procedures with little chance of complications, and will be able to provide you with the information you need to understand the recovery process. Your oral surgeon will often collaborate with other specialists, such as an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist, to achieve your ultimate treatment goals.


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Treating Sleep Apnea With Oral Surgery

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition created when a portion of the upper airway is blocked, causing breathing interruptions during sleep and low blood oxygen levels. As many as 20% of adults are affected by mild obstructive sleep apnea, while one in fifteen suffers from more severe apnea.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include snoring, extreme daytime drowsiness, restless sleep, high blood pressure, depression, problems with mental function, as well as a host of other mental and physical concerns. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to a long list of serious medical conditions, including hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may initially treat the condition with a CPAP device that you wear while sleeping. While a CPAP machine will reduce the obstruction to the airway, it is not a cure and will only be effective during use. Other non-surgical treatment recommendations may include the wearing of mouthguards to reposition the jaw, sleep position changes, or weight loss.

Tongue muscle advancement involves moving the bony attachment of the tongue muscles, and can be combined with palatal surgery to reduce excess tissues. This therapy may also include removing enlarged tonsils and nasal surgery. These treatments are most often used for milder cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

However, if these treatments do not work or for more severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, oral surgery offers solutions to correct apnea. Maxillomandibular Advancement is a procedure that repositions the upper and lower jaw and chin to open the airway. This treatment is highly successful and offers the greatest chance of permanent correction in moderate to severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

For more information about how surgical therapies and treatments can be utilized to address your obstructive sleep apnea, consult with a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.


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Oral surgeon in Clinton NJ

Common Reasons for Oral Surgery

Many oral surgeries go beyond simply removing a tooth, and the cause is not always related to poor dental hygiene. Some reasons for oral surgery just can’t be predicted or avoided, such as injuries, birth defects, or cancer. Great strides have been made in oral surgery, especially for restoration and reconstruction techniques. These are some common reasons that oral surgery is advised.

Tooth loss

Replacing missing teeth with dental implants requires oral surgery so that the titanium implant can be inserted into the jaw. Providing an alternative to dentures and bridges, implants offer a secure and permanent solution that looks very natural. Candidates with adequate bone density, good overall health, and who practice proper oral hygiene are considered for implant surgery. After the implant heals, a crown will be placed on top to complete the restoration.

Impacted teeth

One of the most common oral surgeries is to remove impacted wisdom teeth. Often occurring during the late teen to early adult years, wisdom teeth are unable to erupt properly and must be extracted to prevent future problems.

TMJ

Temporomandibular joint disorders involve the joint where the skull and lower jaw come together in front of the ear. Facial pain, headaches, popping, and jaw problems can result, and dentists try to treat the disorder with solutions like splints, physical therapy, and medications. Severe cases can require surgery to fully correct the TMJ problems.

Injuries

Car accidents, sports injuries, and other trauma can cause broken facial bones or jaws. Surgery may be necessary to realign the jaws, wire bones together, and otherwise repair the injury so that normal function and comfort can be restored.

Cleft repairs

Birth defects like a cleft lip or palate are corrected through oral surgery. Usually a series of surgeries over a span of years is needed to improve the appearance and proper function of the areas affected by the birth defect.

Biopsy

Surgery is performed to remove cancerous tumors or lesions in the jaws or facial bones. This is especially true when the joints or connecting muscles and tendons are involved.

 

 

Oral Surgery: Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last adult teeth to erupt into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the bottom and two on top. Many people do not have enough room for these molars to emerge completely, causing them to become impacted in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay and disease. Other dental problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and bite alignment issues. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend having the impacted teeth removed to prevent future problems.

Surgery to extract an impacted wisdom tooth or set of wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office. If the tooth or surrounding area are deemed to have an infection prior to the procedure, surgery will be delayed, and your dental professional will likely prescribe antibiotics to help heal the area.

On the day of surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the extracted tooth will be removed. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist or oral surgeon may also utilize a general anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made to open up the gum and any bone blocking the tooth will be removed. Your dentist or surgeon will then separate the tissue connecting the bone to the tooth and extract the tooth. Some teeth are too large to remove in one piece, in which case your surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and packed with gauze to help alleviate bleeding.

Long-term complications from impacted wisdom tooth surgery are rare. To ensure a successful recovery from this or any oral surgery, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon.


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Wisdom teeth dentist

Wisdom Teeth: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Wisdom teeth, your third set of molars, are named that because they are the final teeth to erupt. They usually come in between ages 17 to 25, and are located in the very back of your mouth on the top and bottom. Your dentist will examine you to find out if your wisdom teeth are properly positioned and healthy. If they aren’t, your dentist will recommend removal.

How do you know wisdom teeth should be removed?
Some of the signs there is a problem with your wisdom teeth include pain, infection, cysts, gum disease, damage to nearby teeth, and tooth decay. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist for an examination.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Sometimes your teeth just don’t have room to grow in properly. They can erupt at angles within your jaw, sometimes even horizontally. If wisdom teeth aren’t able to erupt normally they can become trapped, or impacted, inside your jaw. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are pain, infection, and swelling. When teeth are impacted, they can lead to serious problems. Many dentists want to avoid impacted teeth and therefore remove your wisdom teeth before they erupt or grow too big.

Are there less obvious reasons to remove wisdom teeth?
It’s not always clear when these teeth way in the back of your mouth are causing problems, or might in the future. Many dentists remove them in teens or young adults so they don’t cause problems later, or become too firmly planted in the jaw. Also, sometimes wisdom teeth are removed as part of orthodontic, periodontal, or restorative treatment plans.

What happens if I don’t have them removed?
Some dentists prefer to wait and see what happens with time to your wisdom teeth. Make sure you continue to have these teeth monitored, because the risk of problems doesn’t go away with age. Removing wisdom teeth isn’t always necessary, because if there’s room in your mouth and they come in properly, they work just like any other teeth. The key is to watch them to make sure problems don’t arise in the future.

Dental office for wisdom teeth removal

Treating Gum Disease with Oral Surgery

Gum disease is a serious problem. You should treat it as soon as possible following the recommendations of your dentist. Also known as periodontal disease, it has several treatments, depending on the severity of the issue.

Your first course of action is to completely revamp your oral hygiene habits. Daily flossing and brushing following meals are essential habits to develop. You must have a clean mouth before you go to bed. If you smoke, you should stop. Your mouth’s health depends on it.

If you haven’t been keeping up with your professional checkups and cleanings, you need to start again. Long-term gum health is greatly impacted by the plaque, tartar, food debris and bacteria left on teeth. Hardened calculus, or calcified plaque, can be removed using a process called scaling. This process may require local anesthesia.

Your progress will be evaluated by your dentist to see if your gum tissue is recovering. With enough progress and response to treatment, your gum disease treatment may not progress beyond these initial steps; however, for more severe cases of gum disease, you may require oral surgery.

Surgical procedures are available that can regenerate and repair the soft gum tissue in the mouth, as well as hard tissues such as bone or teeth. Your oral surgeon will want to reduce or completely eliminate gum pockets, or open areas beneath the gum line, improving and renewing gum to tooth attachment. Normal oral functions and aesthetic appearances are aimed to be restored.

There are many sedation dentistry options available to patients treating their gum disease with oral surgery. These include local anesthesia and IV or conscious oral sedation. Talk to your oral surgeon to see what’s appropriate for your specific needs.

Don’t wait to treat your gum disease. Do what you need to do to ensure a lifetime of better oral hygiene and gum health.


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Facial Injuries and Oral Surgery

There are a number of reasons that dentists or oral surgeons recommend surgery, but facial injuries are probably the most unexpected and alarming cause. Maxillofacial injury, or facial trauma, refers to any injury to the mouth, jaw, and face. Most of these injuries result from sports, car accidents, job accidents, violence, or an accident at home. Let’s learn about oral surgery resulting from facial trauma.

Broken bones are a common type of serious facial injury. Fractures can occur in the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones, palate, and eye sockets. Injuries in these locations may affect vision and the ability to eat, talk, and breathe. Hospitalization is often required for treatment, which is similar to that for fractures in other parts of the body. The bones must be lined up and held in place to allow time to heal them in the correct position. Because casts are not possible in facial injuries, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates to treat fractures. Sometimes healing takes as long as six weeks or more.

Even though some facial injuries are worse than others, all of them should be taken seriously. They affect an important area of the body, so it is recommended to seek treatment from an oral surgeon to make sure you receive optimum care. Even if stitches are all that’s required, it’s best to have them performed by an oral surgeon who can place them exactly as needed to produce the best results.

It’s no surprise that the best solution for facial injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Oral surgeons suggest consistent use of mouth guards, seat belts, and masks and helmets as required. Improvements have been made to safety gear to make these items more comfortable and efficient, so there should be no excuses for not using them to protect yourself and avoid injuries that can lead to oral surgery.

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Oral Surgery FAQ

If you or a loved one is scheduled to have or has recently had oral surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions:

  • One of my stitches came out after my surgery, should I be worried? Losing a stitch isn’t a problem. In the majority of cases, stitches are put in place during surgery to assist in clot formation and bleeding control. If you have undergone a bone-graft procedure, however, contact your surgeon because you may need to be seen immediately.
  • What can I eat after surgery? Immediately following surgery, eat only soft foods of tepid temperature. Avoid very hot or very cold foods. Eat nothing that is crunchy or chewy so you won’t damage the surgical site.
  • I am having a lot of pain following my procedure, what should I do? If you have been prescribed pain medication, take it as recommended. If no prescription was given, use over-the-counter medicines containing natural anti-inflammatory properties such as ibuprofen. Stay hydrated by drinking room temperature water and get plenty of rest.
  • I had a tooth extracted, how can I tell if I have a dry socket? Dry socket is the result of the loss of the blood clot present in the extraction site. Smoking, using a straw, poor oral hygiene or failure to rest properly following the extraction procedure can lead to this condition. Typically dry socket will present within one week of extraction and is treated with sterile wash and pain-relieving, medicated gauze.
  • I had a procedure this morning and am still bleeding. Is that normal? Bleeding following extractions or other surgical procedures is common. If you are bleeding more than normal, bite down on some sterile gauze or a damp teabag for twenty or thirty minutes. Don’t keep removing the gauze to look for blood; that can make the bleeding worse. Call your surgeon if you feel your bleeding is excessive.

Your oral surgeon can answer these questions and more. Don’t hesitate to call the surgeon’s office to get the peace of mind you require to heal comfortably following your procedure.

We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area