Also referred to as oral and maxillofacial surgery, oral surgery is a dental specialty that deals with the diagnosis and surgical intervention of injuries, diseases, and defects to the teeth, jaws, mouth, and face.
Your general dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to seek specialized care for functional dental concerns, such as preserving your teeth, treating damage due to trauma, controlling serious oral diseases, and overcoming issues of congenital growth. In most cases, the surgeon works together with the prosthodontist to develop prosthetic and orthotic devices to address these functional problems.
Cases Handled by Oral Surgeons
If your dental or oral case is severe enough to require surgery, you will likely need a dental team comprising a surgeon, prosthodontist, and cosmetic dentist. Your oral surgeon can help to:
- Remove diseased and impacted teeth, usually under IV (intravenous) sedation or general anesthesia
- Treat different cases of facial trauma, including setting a fractured jaw and facial bones, repairing facial skin lacerations, reconnecting severed nerves, and other issues affecting the jaws, oral tissues, nasal and cheek bones
- Place dental implants, reconstruct lost bone tissue to support an implant, and modify gum tissue surrounding the implant.
- Assess pathological conditions, including tumors and cysts of the mouth and face, severe infections of the oral cavity (jaw, neck, and salivary glands), and malignant oral, neck, and head cancer
- Diagnose and treat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems and other facial pain disorders, and recommending surgical treatment where non-surgical interventions are unsuccessful
- Perform cosmetic and reconstructive surgery to correct facial bone, jaw, and facial soft tissue concerns resulting from the removal of tumors, cysts, or trauma. This process typically involves using tissues (skin, bone, and nerves) from other parts of the body for facial and jaw reconstruction
- Correct minor and major dental and skeletal jaw irregularities to enhance speaking, breathing, and chewing. When correcting malocclusions, the surgeon will likely work with your orthodontist to use surgery only when necessary
- Provide surgical treatment for OSA - obstructive sleep apnea
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