Oral Surgery (also Maxillofacial Surgery) is an area of dentistry that includes the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries and defects related to the head, mouth, teeth, gums, jaws and neck. Training as an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon requires both medical and dental qualifications of 8 to 10 years after college. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons perform procedures such as dental implants, wisdom teeth removal, corrective jaw surgery, osseous tissue surgery, and bone grafts. Dental implants and wisdom teeth removal are covered separately on this website, but we will focus on the other procedures here.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons perform corrective jaw surgery (also known as orthognathic surgery) to correct a variety of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth, which, in turn, can impede proper chewing and even hamper speaking and breathing. Corrective jaw surgery may reposition all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw and chin. While a patient’s appearance may be dramatically enhanced as a result of their surgery, corrective jaw surgery is performed to primarily to correct functional problems and is not cosmetic in nature. An individual may need corrective jaw surgery if he or she is experiencing:
- difficulty swallowing
- chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headache
- excessive wear of the teeth
- open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
- unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
- facial injury or birth defects
- receding chin
- protruding jaw
- inability to make the lips meet without straining
- chronic mouth breathing and dry mouth
- sleep apnea (breathing problems when one is sleeping, including snoring)
Osseous Tissue Surgery
Traditionally, the treatment for gum disease was a procedure that involved trimming away the infected gum tissue and re-contouring the uneven bone tissue. While this is still an effective treatment for gum disease, new and more sophisticated procedures are being used today, including osseous tissue surgery, also known as pocket depth reduction. Healthy bone and gum tissue fit snugly around the teeth. When a patient has periodontal disease, this supporting tissue and bone are destroyed, forming “pockets” around the teeth. Over time, these pockets deepen—providing a larger space for bacteria to live and grow. As bacteria develop around the teeth, they can accumulate and advance underneath the gum tissue. As more bacteria collect, further bone and tissue may be lost. If too much bone is lost, there may not be enough support for the teeth, and they will need to be extracted. In osseous tissue surgery, the gum tissue is folded back, so that disease-causing bacteria may be removed from the pockets, and then the tissue is secured back into place. In some cases, irregular surfaces of damaged bone are smoothed to limit places in which disease-causing bacteria can hide. That way, the gum tissue is allowed to re-attach better to healthier, bacteria-free bone. Osseous tissue surgery has important therapeutic benefits. It is often the first step in fighting periodontal disease. Reducing pocket depth and eliminating existing bacteria help stop the decaying process and prevent further damage to the mouth. However, eliminating bacteria alone may not be sufficient to prevent periodontal disease from recurring. When pockets become very deep, they are more difficult to keep clean, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene after the procedure (including frequent brushing and flossing at home and regular professional cleanings and periodontal maintenance). This increases the chances of keeping your natural teeth and prevents the development of serious health problems associated with periodontal disease.
Bone grating and guided tissue regeneration.
Since periodontal disease is the leading cause of bone loss in the oral cavity, bone grafting is a useful procedure for replacing lost bone tissue and stimulating natural bone growth. Bone grafts may be needed to create a stable foundation for the placement of a dental implant, to halt the progression of periodontal disease, and/or even to improve the appearance of your smile. After a patient’s gum tissue has been lifted back and the disease-causing bacteria has been removed from the teeth and roots, bone-grafting material is used to fill the voids in the bone surrounding the teeth. Often the bone graft is also combined with tissue-stimulating proteins that help the body regenerate bone and tissue. Tissue regenerative membranes may also be placed over the bone graft to stabilize the graft and further stimulate bone and tissue regeneration. Removing bacteria and toxins and regenerating bone and tissue can help to reduce pocket depths and repair damage caused by periodontal disease.
We have an experienced Oral Surgery team.
Crystal Dental has highly trained oral surgeons at our three locations. We invite you to schedule an appointment at our office nearest you for a consultation and diagnosis. If you need oral surgery, we can help you decide on the best procedure for you. Contact Us!