Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Does orthodontics require surgery? Not often, but on occasion, yes. When it is required, we turn to the help of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These surgeons are dental specialists who first get their degree in dentistry and then go on for many more years of study to become certified as surgeons. Their care can address a wide spectrum of issues, including diseases, injuries, and defects that impact the head, neck, face, jaws, and soft tissues.
Conditions and Treatments
- Corrective Jaw Surgery : A procedure that corrects the position of the jaws in an effort to correct skeletal and dental irregularities.
- Wisdom Teeth : In most cases, wisdom teeth do no emerge correctly. Instead, they must be surgically removed when they begin causing problems.
- Cleft Palate : This occurs when the mouth and nasal cavity do not grow together correctly. It must be closed with surgery so eating, breathing, speaking, and hearing can function properly.
- Facial Trauma : In most cases, injuries to the face, mouth, and jaw will not require surgery, but in severe cases, they do. Jaw, palate, cheekbone, and eye socket injuries may need surgery.
- Temporomandibular Joint : Problems with this joint are often called TMJ or TMD. Surgery can eliminate the paint, stiffness, and noises made by problems with this joint.
- Oral Cancer : When oral cancer occurs, removing it can be a delicate procedure. If you notice signs during a self-exam, speak with your dentist for a referral to a surgeon who can complete the biopsy and surgery, if it is needed.
- Implants : Dental implants are an alternative to dentures and bridges, giving patients a life-long solution to missing teeth. In general, they must be placed by a surgeon.
Do You Need Surgery?
If you suspect that you or your child may have a problem that should be treated with surgery, you should be seen by an orthodontist. In many cases, seemingly significant problems can be corrected by wearing appliances rather than through invasive surgery. Your orthodontist will cover all your options before settling on a treatment method.
What to Expect
If surgery is needed, patients naturally worry about what to expect. However, all surgeries are different. Most take place in hospitals, but some—like wisdom teeth removal—could be in a separate surgical center. The time for surgery varies based on complexity After surgery is done, there will usually be a period of one to two weeks away from school or work. Braces are used post-healing to perfect the bite, and usually the process is finished within a year.
If you feel that you or your child have a need for facial surgery, speak with us. We can help you access the care you need.