When most people think about visiting the oral surgeon, it’s usually prompted by a pressing dental issue that needs to be addressed, such as wisdom teeth removal, or having dental reconstruction after an accident.
Although those are important and valid reasons to visit the oral surgeon, the reality is, oral surgeons also can help you improve your quality of life in a wide variety of situations, and maybe even a few you might not be aware of.
Tooth loss, for example, can affect your quality of life for normal oral function such as eating and drinking, and even extend to speaking and self-esteem. Through various approaches, an oral surgeon can quickly and effectively address many issues you may be experiencing and get you back to your normal life.
If you’re having problems with your mouth but have been held back from seeking solutions because of cost or fear, take a moment to consider the benefits of oral surgery.
Here’s a look at common procedures performed by an Oral Surgeon and how they can improve your overall quality of life:
If you are missing a tooth or several teeth, dental implants not only improve the aesthetics of the mouth, but also restore functionality – improving overall quality of life.
A study by Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine found that osteoporotic women with dental implants compared to those who have missing teeth and use removable dentures, experienced a significantly higher quality of life in every aspect including occupational, emotional, and sexual health.
With dental implants, a medical-grade titanium post is inserted into the jaw replacing the missing tooth root. Over 3-6 months, the titanium osseointegrates with the bone, providing a solid foundation on which to attach an abutment and then the fabricated tooth, or crown. Not only do the implants look like natural teeth, but also with proper care, they can last a lifetime.
Many who struggle with sleep apnea spend their nights attached to a sleep mask or hose to help ease the symptoms. However, through the use of laser technology, it is possible to decrease the excess tissue at the back of the mouth, keeping the airway clear while sleeping. The best part is that with the use of laser, there is no cutting or recovery period involved; the procedure is touchless and done in office, with each session lasting about 20-30 minutes. Most patients see improvement after 3-5 sessions.
If you’re experience severe symptoms of sleep apnea, it may be time to seek the help of an oral surgeon. They can help get rid of unnecessary tissue from the back of your throat, which often exacerbates sleep apnea symptoms.
After the removal, most patients find they are able to breathe more easily, and, as a result, sleep better.
Bone and Gum Grafting
Bone and gum grafting is sometimes necessary for people who have ignored missing teeth for a period of years.
This is because a missing tooth root can lead to a loss or melting away of the adjacent bone and tissue. Similar to how beach grass is often planted to abate beach erosion, tooth roots serve to anchor bone in the jaw.
If you already have a missing tooth and would like to have a dental implant placed, an oral surgeon will first determine if adequate bone is available to anchor the implant. Modern 3D scanning allows for precision bone measurement and a determination can quickly be made if a bone graft is needed before placement of the dental implant.
Those who have suffered traumatic facial injuries from an accident or who have experienced losing several teeth may find it hard to complete everyday tasks such as speaking, eating, and drinking.
Reconstructive surgery, however, can help you replace damaged teeth, correct issues with your jaw, and address gum damage.
The starting point is a CT scan which will provide a 3D representation of the mouth and surrounding structures. Depending on the complexity of the case, your oral surgeon may recommend the procedure be undertaken in a hospital setting which provides a full range of anesthesia and surgical support options that maybe needed.
Sometimes, a routine visit to the dentist may find an unusual lesion, growth, or discoloration in the oral cavity, in which case you may be referred for a biopsy. Lesions are not always bad, however, a diagnosis cannot be made by visual inspection and x-ray imaging alone, so you may be referred to an oral surgeon for a biopsy.
A biopsy involves removing a small sample of the tissue from your mouth and sending it to a lab for analysis. Depending on the location of the lesion in the mouth, numbing medication maybe used for comfort. If access to the biopsy area is needed underneath the gum, a surgical procedure may be required, and this is sometimes done under sedation (put-to-sleep) for the procedure.
The lab is usually able to analyze the sample and issue results in 7-14 days, which provides a diagnosis for the issue, and the surgeon will then discuss treatment options. Starting treatment early leads to better prognosis and outcomes.
Jaw surgery can be necessary in a variety of circumstances: for an improperly aligned jaw, to correct issues with swallowing, or to minimize excessive breakdown of your teeth, to name a few.
An oral surgeon can assess your jaw and any symptoms you may be experiencing to let you know if surgery will correct it. By addressing the problem head on, you can ensure a lifetime of a happy, healthy mouth with restored tooth and jaw function.
In need of help?
If you find yourself experiencing any of the issues discussed above, or others related to oral health that aren’t listed here, contact us today. We’d love to set up a consultation to offer our expert advice for improving your health and quality of life.