8 Essential Times When You Might Need Oral Surgery

8 Essential Times When You Might Need Oral Surgery

Oral surgery is any kind of surgery performed in the mouth (the oral cavity). In most cases, a periodontist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform the procedure. There are many reasons why you might need oral surgery.

1. Wisdom Tooth Removal

Impacted wisdom teeth often become infected or cause other dental problems. Some dentists recommend prophylactic removal of all impacted wisdom teeth early in adulthood to avoid these problems. Other dentists prefer to wait and only remove impacted wisdom teeth that do cause problems.

2. Tooth Extraction

Although dentists prefer to save teeth, sometimes they are damaged beyond repair by trauma, infection, or decay. Removing an adult tooth is a lot more complicated than just yanking it out. The root system has to be carefully excised or root remnants can lead to pain and infection.

3. Dental Implants

Lost teeth can be replaced with a variety of orthodontic appliances, such as bridges attached to the neighboring teeth. However, the most natural result is achieved with an implant. To place an implant, the surgeon inserts a metal support (the implant) into the bone of the jaw. Then, a prosthetic tooth is attached to the implant. For extensive tooth loss, the entire dental arch can be replaced with prosthetic teeth supported by four implants.

4. Periodontal Treatment

Gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. The initial treatment for periodontitis is a deep cleaning procedure along the gumline. In severe cases, dentists may recommend more invasive approaches, such as surgically cleaning under the gums. In cases of severe gum recession associated with periodontitis, a surgeon can move gum tissue from another part of the mouth and place it over an exposed tooth root (a gum graft).

5. Sleep Apnea Correction

Sleep apnea is a very serious condition. It increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic disorders, liver scarring, divorce, and sudden death. There are different types of sleep apnea and some types can be corrected by oral surgery. These procedures range in complexity from trimming excess tissues in the back of the throat to repositioning of the jaw, depending on your specific case.

6. Jaw Correction

Some people’s jaws don’t form correctly in utero or during childhood. A misaligned jaw can negatively affect your appearance, chewing, and speech. Oral surgeons can re-align the jaw to restore normal function.

7. Bone Graft

Tooth loss and periodontal disease can cause the bone in your jaw to deteriorate in a process similar to osteoporosis. This type of poor-quality bone is unable to support dental implants. A surgeon can place a bone graft to support the implants. Once prosthetic teeth have been placed on the implants, the pressure of chewing will stimulate the body to naturally repair and replace the native bone of the jaw.

8. Cleft Lip Repair

A cleft lip is a fairly common congenital defect. During normal facial development in utero, the two sides of the upper lip grow and fuse together. When they fail to fuse normally, the resulting gap is called a cleft lip. Cleft lips can be associated with a similar gap in the roof of the mouth (cleft palate) or occur in isolation. A cleft lip can easily be repaired by an oral surgeon, allowing the child to go on to lead a completely normal life.