About Oral Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgery might seem like a scary prospect when you need it, but thousands of oral surgery procedures are performed every day. Oral surgery is a specialized field of medicine that requires years of training and experience and deals with the surgical treatment of the oral and maxillofacial region. This includes the mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, and facial structures.

Difference Between An Oral Surgeon And A Dentist

While oral surgeons and dentists are trained to care for your oral health, oral and maxillofacial surgeons undergo an additional four years of training after dental school to specialize in surgery. This extra training gives oral surgeons the ability to perform complex procedures that dentists cannot do.

Why Do I Need To See An Oral Surgeon? 

An oral surgeon is trained to handle complex cases that require surgery, such as:

Oral Surgery Procedures

Oral surgeons are specialists in a number of surgical procedures. Your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon for procedures that they are not able to perform. 

Here is a list of some of the most common oral surgery procedures. 

Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to come in. They typically erupt in the late teens or early twenties. Because there is often not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth, they can become impacted or stuck beneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infection, and damage to other teeth. Wisdom tooth removal is a common oral surgery procedure.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots placed in the jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants are an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason. A metal post is placed in the jawbone and allowed to fuse with the bone. Once the post is securely in place, a replacement tooth is attached to the post.

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Also called orthognathic surgery, corrective jaw surgery is performed to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Jaw surgery may be recommended to correct an improper bite or to reposition the jaw to improve oral function.

Bone Grafting Procedures

A bone graft is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone in the jaw. Bone grafts can be used to repair bones that are damaged by injury or disease. They can also be used to build up the jawbone to support dental implants. There are many different types of bone graft options available, and your oral surgeon will determine which is best for you based on your individual needs.

Temporomandibular Joint Surgery

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. TMD is a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the TMJ and the muscles around it. Several factors can cause TMD, including teeth grinding, clenching, TMJ injury, and arthritis. Treatment for TMD can vary depending on the severity of the condition but may include oral surgery. A TMJ surgery may include arthroscopy, open joint surgery, or the placement of artificial joints.

Oral Pathology

Oral pathology is the study of diseases of the oral cavity. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to identify and treat oral pathology. Oral pathology can include a wide range of conditions, including oral cancer, benign tumors, cysts, and other growths. 

  • Oral cancer develops in the oral cavity, including the lips, gums, tongue, and lining of the mouth. Oral cancer can be difficult to detect in its early stages, so it is important to see your dentist for regular checkups. 
  • Benign tumors are growths that do not spread to other parts of the body. However, they can still cause problems if they grow large enough to interfere with oral function or affect the appearance of the mouth. 
  • Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can form in the oral cavity. They are usually benign but can sometimes become infected.

Trauma Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to treat oral and facial trauma such as injuries to the teeth, jaws, lips, cheeks, gums, and other structures of the face. Trauma surgery may be necessary to repair fractures or lacerations (cuts).

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Oral surgeons are trained to treat sleep apnea with oral appliances or surgery. Oral appliances are mouthpieces worn during sleep to keep the airway open. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove tissue blocking the airway.

Cleft Lip and Palate

A cleft lip is a split or opening in the upper lip that can extend into the nose. A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth. Cleft lip and palate are birth defects that can cause eating, speaking, and hearing problems. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to treat cleft lip and palate with surgery. Surgery may be performed to close the opening in the lip or palate or to improve the function of the mouth.

Frenectomy

A frenectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove the frenulum. The frenulum is a small piece of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth. A frenectomy may be recommended if the frenulum is too short or tight, which can cause problems with eating, speaking, or oral hygiene.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I go back to work after oral surgery?

This will depend on the type of oral surgery you had and how you are feeling. You may be able to return to work the next day, or you may need to take a few days off. Major surgery may require a longer recovery time.

How long after oral surgery can I smoke?

You should not smoke for at least 24 hours after oral surgery, but 72 hours or three days is best. Smoking can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.

How long after oral surgery can I eat?

You can eat when you feel ready. It is usually best to start with soft foods and gradually add more solid foods to your diet as you heal. Your surgeon will provide you with aftercare instructions that will include information on diet.

Experience The AZ Max Difference

At AZ Max, our expert surgeons are here to provide you with the highest quality of care. We take great pride in our work and are committed to providing you with the best possible outcome. 

We offer a full scope of surgery with expertise ranging from oral surgery, dental implants, and more to the Tempe, Mesa, Show Low, and Queen Creek areas. We also offer a variety of financing options to make sure that you can get the care you need. Call (480) 830-5866 to schedule a consultation.

We look forward to meeting you!