Oral surgery to correct problems with the jaw is known as orthognathic surgery. Jaw issues can result from birth defects, changes due to growth, or injury or trauma to the face. While orthodontics can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved, oral surgery may be required when repositioning of the jaw is necessary to correct the issue. If you suffer from any of the following concerns, orthognathic surgery may be a consideration:
- Difficulty chewing, biting or swallowing
- Problems with opening and closing your mouth, or with speaking
- Persistent jaw or temporomandibular joint pain
- Clenching or grinding of teeth causing excessive wear to the teeth
- Inability to make the lips meet without straining
- Un-proportional facial appearance or protruding jaw
- Malocclusion, open, or incorrect bite
- Recessive lower jaw and chin
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
Most jaw surgeries are performed completely in the mouth, so no facial scars are visible. The oral surgeon makes cuts in the jawbone and then moves them to the correct position. Once the jaw is correctly aligned, screws and bone plates are placed to secure the jaw into the new position. Sometimes it may be necessary to add extra bone to the jaw from your hip, leg, or rib.
Orthognathic surgery is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon usually in a hospital setting. Recovery time from jaw surgery takes three to six weeks. Your general or family dentist should be able to refer you to a skilled oral surgeon for a consultation and examination to determine a treatment plan. Jaw surgery can improve not only your facial appearance, but also chewing, speaking and breathing functions.
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There are a number of reasons that dentists or oral surgeons recommend surgery, but facial injuries are probably the most unexpected and alarming cause. Maxillofacial injury, or facial trauma, refers to any injury to the mouth, jaw, and face. Most of these injuries result from sports, car accidents, job accidents, violence, or an accident at home. Let’s learn about oral surgery resulting from facial trauma.
Broken bones are a common type of serious facial injury. Fractures can occur in the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones, palate, and eye sockets. Injuries in these locations may affect vision and the ability to eat, talk, and breathe. Hospitalization is often required for treatment, which is similar to that for fractures in other parts of the body. The bones must be lined up and held in place to allow time to heal them in the correct position. Because casts are not possible in facial injuries, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates to treat fractures. Sometimes healing takes as long as six weeks or more.
Even though some facial injuries are worse than others, all of them should be taken seriously. They affect an important area of the body, so it is recommended to seek treatment from an oral surgeon to make sure you receive optimum care. Even if stitches are all that’s required, it’s best to have them performed by an oral surgeon who can place them exactly as needed to produce the best results.
It’s no surprise that the best solution for facial injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Oral surgeons suggest consistent use of mouth guards, seat belts, and masks and helmets as required. Improvements have been made to safety gear to make these items more comfortable and efficient, so there should be no excuses for not using them to protect yourself and avoid injuries that can lead to oral surgery.
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Wisdom teeth, your third set of molars, are named that because they are the final teeth to erupt. They usually come in between ages 17 to 25, and are located in the very back of your mouth on the top and bottom. Your dentist will examine you to find out if your wisdom teeth are properly positioned and healthy. If they aren’t, your dentist will recommend removal.
How do you know wisdom teeth should be removed?
Some of the signs there is a problem with your wisdom teeth include pain, infection, cysts, gum disease, damage to nearby teeth, and tooth decay. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist for an examination.
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Sometimes your teeth just don’t have room to grow in properly. They can erupt at angles within your jaw, sometimes even horizontally. If wisdom teeth aren’t able to erupt normally they can become trapped, or impacted, inside your jaw. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are pain, infection, and swelling. When teeth are impacted, they can lead to serious problems. Many dentists want to avoid impacted teeth and therefore remove your wisdom teeth before they erupt or grow too big.
Are there less obvious reasons to remove wisdom teeth?
It’s not always clear when these teeth way in the back of your mouth are causing problems, or might in the future. Many dentists remove them in teens or young adults so they don’t cause problems later, or become too firmly planted in the jaw. Also, sometimes wisdom teeth are removed as part of orthodontic, periodontal, or restorative treatment plans.
What happens if I don’t have them removed?
Some dentists prefer to wait and see what happens with time to your wisdom teeth. Make sure you continue to have these teeth monitored, because the risk of problems doesn’t go away with age. Removing wisdom teeth isn’t always necessary, because if there’s room in your mouth and they come in properly, they work just like any other teeth. The key is to watch them to make sure problems don’t arise in the future.
Dental office for wisdom teeth removal
Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt. Usually, people get their wisdom teeth in during their late teens and early 20s. Although some individuals have no trouble with their wisdom teeth, many people end up having these teeth removed because they may become impacted and create dental health issues. Learn more about wisdom teeth with this Q and A:
Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
If your wisdom teeth aren’t causing problems, you can leave them alone. Typically, wisdom teeth are crooked or impacted, which can generate problems with the surrounding teeth. Also, wisdom teeth can be harder to keep clean, so the risk of decay on these teeth is higher.
When should I have these teeth taken out?
For optimal results, most dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal for patients when they are between 16 and 22 years old. The formation of the roots isn’t complete, so you have fewer complications.
Are there any risks?
As with any surgery, you can have issues arise, but the biggest concerns are nerve damage and dry sockets. Older patients have a greater chance of nerve damage because the root has more fully developed. Dry sockets occur when the post-surgery blood clots dislodge.
Does my age matter?
Some adults don’t experience any symptoms until they are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. You can have these teeth extracted at any point, but when you get older, surgery is more difficult and the recovery takes longer. If you have trouble with your wisdom teeth, contact your dentist right away for a complete exam.
Longview dental office for wisdom teeth – Scott Distefano, DDS
Many oral surgeries go beyond simply removing a tooth, and the cause is not always related to poor dental hygiene. Some reasons for oral surgery just can’t be predicted or avoided, such as injuries, birth defects, or cancer. Great strides have been made in oral surgery, especially for restoration and reconstruction techniques. These are some common reasons that oral surgery is advised.
Replacing missing teeth with dental implants requires oral surgery so that the titanium implant can be inserted into the jaw. Providing an alternative to dentures and bridges, implants offer a secure and permanent solution that looks very natural. Candidates with adequate bone density, good overall health, and who practice proper oral hygiene are considered for implant surgery. After the implant heals, a crown will be placed on top to complete the restoration.
One of the most common oral surgeries is to remove impacted wisdom teeth. Often occurring during the late teen to early adult years, wisdom teeth are unable to erupt properly and must be extracted to prevent future problems.
Temporomandibular joint disorders involve the joint where the skull and lower jaw come together in front of the ear. Facial pain, headaches, popping, and jaw problems can result, and dentists try to treat the disorder with solutions like splints, physical therapy, and medications. Severe cases can require surgery to fully correct the TMJ problems.
Car accidents, sports injuries, and other trauma can cause broken facial bones or jaws. Surgery may be necessary to realign the jaws, wire bones together, and otherwise repair the injury so that normal function and comfort can be restored.
Birth defects like a cleft lip or palate are corrected through oral surgery. Usually a series of surgeries over a span of years is needed to improve the appearance and proper function of the areas affected by the birth defect.
Surgery is performed to remove cancerous tumors or lesions in the jaws or facial bones. This is especially true when the joints or connecting muscles and tendons are involved.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, and usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties. Standard dental practice is to remove wisdom teeth prior to them being fully formed when the roots have not yet had a chance to develop and fully root into the jaw. Younger patients usually have an easier recovery from surgery and many dentists believe early removal prevents future dental problems associated with wisdom teeth.
If your wisdom teeth were not removed as they emerged, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate the need for extraction including:
- Wisdom teeth that are impacted, which means they have become trapped in the jawbone or gums.
- Wisdom teeth that are emerging at an awkward angle, causing pressure on adjacent teeth.
- Wisdom teeth that do not fit in your mouth, causing crowding of the surrounding teeth as well.
- Wisdom teeth that are suffering from decay or disease caused by the inability to keep them cleaned properly.
- Wisdom teeth that have developed fluid-filled cysts near the gumline.
- Wisdom teeth that are causing pain due to any of the above reasons.
The decision about whether or not to remove your wisdom teeth should be made in consultation with your dental professional. Your dentist or oral surgeon can assess the position and health of your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation for treatment.
If extraction is recommended, they may choose to extract one tooth or all four molars at once. Recovery from the outpatient procedure takes just a few days, and you will quickly be back to normal. Contact our dental office if you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed to determine if you should consider wisdom tooth removal to ensure your future good oral health.