Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery involves the diagnosis, surgery and treatment of injuries and defects in the mouth, teeth, face, jaws and soft tissue of the oral and maxillofacial regions.

Oral surgeons go through six additional years of hospital based surgical and anesthesia training to develop specialized knowledge, allowing them to provide quality care with maximum patient comfort and safety in both office and and surgical settings.

Oral-maxillofacial surgeons perform a variety of procedures, including surgical tooth extractions, dental implants, cyst or tumor removals, TMJ surgery to repair or realign the jaw, realignments of facial bones, and facial and jaw reconstruction.

A family does online check in at dental depot

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery FAQs

What is surgical tooth extraction and removal?

Surgical dental extractions are usually required for the removal of wisdom teeth and for teeth that are broken under the gum line or have not fully erupted.

Surgical extractions are often times performed under IV sedation or IV general anesthesia to provide maximum comfort to the patient. Often times a pre-op evaluation (consult) is necessary to determine if the patient is a good candidate for in-office sedation. Some patients require an outpatient surgical center or a hospital setting due to complicated medical history.

Here is a link to the post surgery instructions we give our patients after they have had a dental extraction. It will give you an idea of what the recovery process entails.

For more information on dental extractions, click here.

What are wisdom teeth and why do they get removed?

Third molars, commonly known as ‘wisdom teeth’, emerge during adulthood and can contribute to many types of oral health issues including improper tooth alignment, infections, TMJ disorder, and discomfort such as orofacial pain and headaches. Removing wisdom teeth is often considered a precautionary measure to preserve oral health and well being.

If healthy and functional, your wisdom teeth can be useful. However, there are also reasons behind why you may need to consider removing your wisdom teeth. In some cases, your wisdom teeth are in fact healthy, but because of orthodontic treatment they need to be removed.

In other cases, your wisdom teeth can become impacted or only partially erupt through the gum in a misalignment. When impacted or partially impacted, your wisdom teeth can cause swelling, pain and even infection of the surrounding gum. They can also put pressure on the adjacent teeth, which can result in permanent damage to these otherwise healthy teeth and their surrounding bone. Sometimes impacted or partially impacted wisdom teeth can also lead to the formation of cysts, and in worse case scenarios even tumors, which could potentially destroy an entire section of your jaw.

Lastly, a fully erupted wisdom tooth needs to be removed because they are very hard to clean and can become severely decayed. So, for these reasons, sometimes the smart move is to have your wisdom teeth removed.

When performing tooth extractions, our dentists take great care to provide a pleasant and comfortable experience.

For more information about wisdom teeth removal, click here.

What are impacted canines?

Maxillary eye teeth or upper canines can become impacted. Impacted canines can damage surrounding structures including adjacent teeth. If left untreated by an oral surgeon, impacted canines can lead to the development of cysts around the un-erupted crown; this can severely damage roots of adjacent teeth.

Successful treatment of impacted canines depends on early detection. The older the patient is, the more likely the canines will fuse in place and resist all attempts to get them to emerge. In such cases, the only option is to extract the canine and replace it with a dental implant.

However, if this problem is detected early enough, an orthodontist can expose the canine and force it to fit into the dental arch.

The position of the impacted tooth in relation to the rest of the teeth in the dental arch is an important consideration in deciding the course of treatment. Dentists also take into account the reasons behind the canine not erupting naturally. These can include:

  • Baby teeth that have not yet fallen off and are taking up space; or
  • Teeth being grouped too close together.

Dentists may recommend braces to open up the eruption path for the canines. This procedure works till the age of 11 or 12 years. As often as possible, dentists prefer to orthodontically extrude the impacted tooth. One important reason for this is that the maxillary canine teeth offer support to the insides of the cheek and the nasal rim.

Extracting the tooth can cause the upper lip to appear flattened. Removing an impacted canine from only one side of the maxillary dental midline can cause the face to appear asymmetrical.

Why is replacing lost teeth important?

Our dentists and staff at Dental Depot understand the devastating effects tooth loss can have on our patients. Losing a tooth can shake your confidence, affect your ability to eat, and lead to additional tooth loss because even one missing tooth can lead to bone atrophy and leave neighboring teeth unsupported. Patients missing multiple teeth face even greater risks to their oral health.

We understand that losing a tooth is a delicate, emotional issue, however, we encourage patients to explore their tooth replacement options as soon as possible because bone can atrophy quite rapidly, and bone loss can affect a person’s candidacy for certain treatments. Dental Depot offers a number of options for replacing missing teeth, such as the placement of dental implants. These long-lasting, low maintenance replacement teeth can restore both oral function and appearance.

For more information on your tooth replacement choices, see our implant dentistry and dentures pages. You might also want to review our Dental Implants vs Dentures page.

What is orthognathic surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is corrective jaw surgery that repositions the jaws to align the teeth and provide a functional bite. The surgery is performed by an oral surgeon. The patient’s oral surgeon works in conjunction with their orthodontist to prepare them for the surgery. Common examples that require surgical correction are a weak lower jaw resulting in a ‘weak’ chin, and an excess of upper jaw resulting in a ‘gummy’ smile.

What anesthesia options are available?

We offer our patients several anesthesia options when undergoing oral surgery. Your options include:

  • Intravenous (IV)
  • General Anesthesia
  • IV Sedation
  • Oral sedation with Nitrous Oxide and Local Anesthesia
  • Nitrous Oxide and Local Anesthesia
  • Local Anesthesia only
  • General Anesthesia in the hospital/surgery center.

For more information about these anesthesia options, click here

What are facial trauma and injuries?

Facial trauma, also known as maxillofacial trauma, can be a very complex injury. Usually, it requires special attention from a qualified oral surgeon and maxillofacial patients usually face longer treatment times. Maxillofacial injuries can include broken facial bones including nose, jaw or cheekbones, soft tissue injuries, burns, lacerations, bruises or fractures. These injuries can lead to permanent facial disfigurement. This means if you don’t seek proper treatment you can lose facial function. Since our faces are usually the first thing people see about you this can lead to a loss of self-esteem, impacting your ability to form meaningful relationships or pursue a career.

The most common causes of facial injuries are:

  • Assault
  • Car accidents
  • Sports
  • Gunshot wounds
  • Falls

For more information about facial trauma and treatment options, click here.

Request appointment at: