A recognized specialty within the practice of dentistry, oral surgery constitutes the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries and defects of the teeth, gums, mouth, jaw, and related areas. Oral surgery may be needed to treat problems like tooth loss, impacted wisdom teeth, TMJ disorder, insertion of dental implants, facial injury or trauma, corrections to gum or jaw problems, bone grafts, or even correction of serious cases of snoring or sleep apnea.
For example, your wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) are the last set of teeth that you develop. Most of the time your jaw is large enough to accommodate them, but sometimes the teeth emerge at an improper angle that can cause crowding of other teeth, or occasionally cause the tooth to become impacted, which means that it becomes trapped between the jaw and the gums, leading to swelling and inflammation. In such cases, dentists often recommend that these teeth be removed via oral surgery. In the case of tooth loss, one treatment involves the implantation of titanium rods, to which a false tooth (dental crown) is then affixed. Other, more serious problems that can require oral surgery include unequal growth of the upper and lower jaws, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, cleft lip or palette repair, or serious oral or facial infections.
Oral surgery is performed by our qualified dentists and oral surgeons (dentists who have completed additional years of specialized training in this field) only when required. It is always performed as gently and in as non-invasive a manner as possible, to insure the least amount of discomfort to patients.
What can I expect if I need oral surgery?
In most oral surgeries, the dentist administers a local anesthetic such as lidocaine to numb the area being worked on. In addition, if you prefer, your dentist can also offer during the procedure the option of an anti-anxiety agent such as nitrous oxide, or a mild sedative, or even full sedation.
As a result, there is usually no pain experienced during the oral surgery itself. However, after the numbness of the local anesthetic wears off, there may be some residual pain and swelling, as the tissues and bone that were worked on during the procedure adjust and heal. In most cases this lasts only 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. Any residual pain can usually be managed effectively via mild analgesics such as aspirin, and swelling can be reduced by application of ice packs during the first 24 hours after the surgery, and heat packs during the second 24 hours after the procedure. Your dentist will give you full instructions as to what to do and not do following oral surgery to facilitate healing and eliminate any discomfort.