Oral Surgery Procedures – Solutions for Oral Issues
Based on the latest reports from the medical sector, an estimated 63% of Americans visit the dentist at least once each year. Many do so far more often. While some receive preventative care, others require more in-depth treatment for millions of people, that includes oral surgery. If you or a loved one may be facing oral surgery, such a procedure can be frightening. But, of course, increased awareness will help alleviate those fears. As such, it's essential to understand the overall concept of this type of treatment and the basics of some standard oral surgery procedures.
What is Oral Surgery?
In a nutshell, oral surgery covers a range of procedures on the teeth, gums, jawbones, and other structures within the mouth. Periodontists or oral and maxillofacial surgeons typically carry them out. These procedures can help correct dental issues and jaw alignment problems or repair damage from injuries, medical conditions, and certain types of medications. Based on recent surveys, between five and ten million Americans require oral surgery each year. In addition, some studies show these types of procedures are becoming increasingly common.
Exploring the Types of Oral Surgeries
Numerous types of procedures fall into the category of oral surgery. Some take only a few minutes, whereas others may require more time to complete. At the same time, some of these procedures are more invasive than others. Take a look at some of the most common dental surgery procedures to understand better what these types of treatment may entail.
Surgical Tooth Extractions
Countless people have teeth extracted each year. Tooth extraction is often a quick, basic procedure known as a simple extraction. During those procedures, dentists pull the broken or decaying teeth that need extraction. Matters aren't always that easy, though. Sometimes, teeth are too damaged to withstand the pressure of being pulled. Some people's teeth have broken off below the gum line, and there's not enough material left for the dentist to grasp for a conventional extraction. In those instances, the surgeon will need to create incisions in the gums and remove the tooth surgically.
In-Depth Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Oral surgeons perform another type of oral surgery to treat periodontal disease. Surgeons may need to make incisions in the gums and push that soft tissue away from the roots of the teeth. Pushing the soft tissue away from the roots of the teeth allows oral surgeons to clean the roots of the teeth and remove any buildup of bacteria that may be present. From there, the gum tissue is sutured and allowed to heal. Again, oral surgery for gum disease can aid in treating infections and preventing further issues.
Dental Implant Surgery
More than three million people have had dental implants installed, and another 500,000 undergo this procedure annually. Dental implants are one of the most popular solutions for replacing missing teeth. It's an alternative to less permanent options, like dentures. Putting dental implants in place is an extensive process that begins with a type of oral surgery.
During the initial step of implant installation, an oral surgeon makes incisions in the gum tissue and places rods into the jawbones. These rods extend from the bone through the gum tissue and will eventually have false teeth known as crowns attached to them. After placing these rods made of biologically compatible titanium, the surgeon will suture the gum tissue. Afterward, the gums will heal while the jawbones fuse to the implants. Then, the crowns will be attached to the rods.
Some patients require dental bone grafts to restore strength in their jaws. However, jawbones can deteriorate due to infections, advanced gums disease, missing teeth, and other issues. Dental professionals may recommend a bone graft to return the jawbone to a healthier state when that happens. The oral surgeon will use bone material from the patient's hip or leg to repair their jawbone. Bone graft surgery can help prevent tooth loss or provide a stable foundation for implants.
Cleft Lip and Palate Repair
Oral surgeons also perform surgeries to repair cleft lip and palate. This condition occurs when the lip or palate fails to develop as it should before birth. Less than one percent of babies in the United States are born with this condition, but it's more common in some other countries. It may interfere with a child's ability to speak and eat properly and can cause breathing issues in some cases. Oral surgeons can reverse those problems.
Effective Treatments for Oral Issues
Those are some of the most common types of oral surgeries. Of course, not all procedures are the same, but they can effectively treat and even reverse oral and maxillofacial conditions. Oral surgeons use anesthetics to numb the affected area before the procedure begins, and sedation is generally available for those with more extensive fears of surgery. Though most patients experience discomfort after the fact, this is usually short-lived, and patients can combat it with prescription and over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications.