General dentists are the primary providers of dental treatment. The most common services they offer include gum care, dental fillings, root canals, veneers, bridges, and crowns. While a general dentist can do simple tooth extractions, more complex surgeries may be outside the scope of their expertise. This is where an oral surgeon would come in. Oral surgeons perform tooth extractions, dental implants, gum grafts, and jaw procedures on patients. These treatments require a high level of sedation. When an issue is beyond the purview of a general dentist’s skill, patients are often referred to an oral surgeon.
One of the most significant distinctions between a dentist and an oral surgeon is the amount of training required to become an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons have an additional four to eight years of extensive training that prepares them to become experts in oral surgical methods. They are specialists who have worked with medical residents during their surgical training.
An oral surgeon can help you in a range of circumstances:
- Tooth extraction: Infected teeth that do not respond to root canal treatment or those that do not have enough bone to support them because of periodontal disease may also require extraction. Wisdom teeth are usually extracted surgically, especially if they are obstructed or have not fully erupted. Fractured or impacted teeth require more extensive surgery than a visible tooth extraction. These teeth extractions are performed by an oral surgeon under local or general anesthesia.
- Dental bone graft: A dental bone transplant is a surgery used to restore the density of the bone in a part of the jaw that has either lost bone or requires additional support. It is required when there is insufficient bone to support your teeth, dental implant, and oral functions. Depending on the length of the bone transplant operation, your oral surgeon may recommend general anesthesia, which will sedate you during the treatment and prevent you from feeling discomfort until the anesthesia wears off.
- Dental implants: Dental implants are a rather invasive procedure involving a surgical component. Since oral surgeons specialize in oral surgery, they are likely the safest option for dental implant installation. If bone grafting is required before the implants are connected to the jawbone, an oral surgeon will almost certainly be required. To determine whether an oral surgeon is required for dental implant installation, consult your dentist.
- Corrective jaw surgery: With jaw correction surgery, abnormalities in the jaw bones are fixed, and the teeth and jaws are realigned to improve their function and enhance your facial expression. It can help with chewing, speaking, and breathing problems, as well as jaw and tooth misalignment. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will adjust the jawbones to meet your requirements. Following surgery, your surgeon will give you guidelines for a modified diet. When performed by a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon, jaw surgery is generally safe. The initial healing of the jaw takes around six weeks following surgery, but total healing might take up to twelve weeks.
- Sleep apnea surgery: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) develops when the tissues in the back of your throat collapse and restrict your airway while you sleep. The brain wakes you up from sleep in response to this drop in blood oxygen levels to reopen the blocked airway. Sometimes you can hear or feel yourself snoring loudly or gasping for air. If left untreated, it can cause daytime fatigue, mood swings, and a strain on the cardiovascular system, among other medical problems. Patients who have sleep apnea may benefit from oral surgery through soft palate surgery, nasal cavity surgery, or maxillomandibular advancement.
We understand that deciding on the best technique to fix your teeth can be difficult. Do you want to learn more about oral surgeons and how they can help you? Schedule an appointment with Cunning Dental Group and we will help you decide if you need an oral surgeon. Our team of 15 dentists and specialists are waiting to provide you with the smile you desire. Call us at (855) 328-6646 to book your consultation.