Oral Surgery

Oral surgery references any surgical treatment done on your jaw, gums, teeth, or other type of oral structures. That includes dental extractions, dental implants, jaw surgeries, and gum grafts. Usually, oral surgery is done by a maxillofacial surgeon, periodontist, or oral surgeon. Those are specialists with advanced training in procedures involving oral surgery.

Oral Surgery: What is it?

Oral surgery refers to any surgery performed on the gums, teeth, jaw or surrounding facial and oral structures. That includes a broad array of treatments, which includes dental bone grafts, teeth extractions, corrective jaw surgery, and gum (periodontal) grafts.

Oral Surgery: Why is it performed?

You might require oral surgery for numerous reasons. Our Spokane dentist, Dr. Jonathan Smith, may advise it if you have:

  • Benign oral pathology (noncancerous bumps or lumps)
  • Bone loss in the jaw
  • TMD (temporomandibular joint disorders)
  • Missing teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Badly broken teeth
  • Extensive tooth decay

Oral Surgery: What are the different types?

There are many types of oral surgery treatments conducted each year. Some common ones include dental bone grafts, tooth extraction, periodontal surgery, dental implants, sleep apnea surgery, corrective jaw surgery, and repair of cleft palate and lips.

Tooth Removal

Tooth removal (tooth extraction) is the most common kind of oral surgery. A removal may be suggested if you have periodontitis (gum disease), severe tooth decay, wisdom teeth complications or dental trauma. Tooth extractions are occasionally performed to get you prepared for dentures or other types of prosthetic devices.

Our dentist in Spokane prefers to save your natural teeth whenever possible, but occasionally, dental extractions are needed to preserve your oral well-being. Also, many dental professionals advise extraction of wisdom teeth as a preventative step to decrease your risk for bone loss, cavities, and other issues.

Bone Grafts

Dental bone grafts are needed once bone loss occurs in the jaw. There are a few reasons why that might occur. Once the natural teeth are present, the dental roots stimulate the jaw’s nerves. It signals the brain to send nutrients to the jaw, which keeps it healthy and strong. If one of your teeth has been missing for quite some time, bone deterioration may occur in this space because there aren’t any roots that stimulate the nerves. Dental bone grafts restore density and volume in the jawbone in order for dental implants to be positioned later.

Your provider may occasionally place a bone graft during a periodontal procedure. Advanced gum disease may cause the bone surrounding the teeth to erode. Bone grafts reduce mobility and provide a strong foundation, which keeps the teeth healthy and strong.

Dental Implants

Implants are considered to be the longest-lasting and most reliable options for teeth replacement. The small threaded posts — designed of medical-grade zirconia or titanium — get embedded into the jaw to replace missing tooth roots. When the dental implants heal, they may be restored with dentures, dental bridges, or dental crowns.

Periodontal Treatment

If you experience periodontitis of a moderate to severe nature, a gum expert might advise a gum disease procedure. During that session, incisions are cut along the gum line and gum tissues are moved back away from the teeth on a temporary basis. Then, the surgeon cleans the teeth roots, and flushes away bacteria and plaque that have built up under the gums. Lastly, the tissue gets repositioned and stitched into position.

As a result of periodontitis, gum recession may sometimes happen. In such cases, you might require a graft. During that session, the healthcare professional reinforces the space of gum tissue loss using donor gum tissue. The tissue might be extracted from the roof of the mouth or bought at a gum tissue bank.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, or corrective jaw surgery, addresses skeletal irregularities of the jaw bones. The procedure might be necessary to address facial imbalances, correct misalignment, or improve chewing function. Also, orthognathic surgery is utilized to ease pain that is caused by TMD (TMJ dysfunction).

Sleep Apnea Treatment

OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea, happens once the tissues inside the back of the throat fall back and then block the airway while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea is sometimes treated successfully using conservative techniques, like using a CPAP machine or an oral appliance. But serious cases might necessitate surgical intervention.

Repair of Cleft Palate and Lips

A baby who is born with a cleft lip has an opening in the top part of their lip, whereas a baby who is born with a cleft palate has an opening inside the roof of the oral cavity. Some infants are born with both of these conditions. Cleft palate and lip occur once the structures in the face do not develop fully in the womb (uterus). Maxillofacial and oral surgeons usually conduct repair of the cleft lip and palate to restore regular eating function and assist a child in developing the right speech patterns later in life.

Oral Surgery: What happens beforehand?

The dental provider performs a comprehensive assessment that checks the gums, teeth, jaw joints, as well as surrounding structures. Also, they’ll take scans and x-rays to gain a clear assessment of the jawbone, teeth roots, nerves and additional vital landmarks in the mouth. Using those details, they will customize a treatment plan.

Oral Surgery: What gets done during the procedure?

Oral surgery is occasionally performed inside a dental clinic as an outpatient treatment. The surgeon might provide options of sedation for your comfort, which includes oral medications, nitrous oxide, or IV (intravenous) deep or moderate sedation. Oral surgery, in other cases, might be done in hospital settings under general anesthetics.

Oral Surgery: What happens afterward?

After the treatment, you are given in-depth post-operative guidelines. It is vital to closely follow those instructions to decrease your risk of infection, bleeding, and other types of complications.

Oral Surgery: Is it dental or medical?

In terms of insurance, the majority of oral surgery falls underneath dental benefits. But there are points when oral surgery can be covered underneath medical insurance. For instance, if you have been in an accident and need oral surgery in a hospital, it will probably be covered by your healthcare insurance. Although, policies and plans vary; therefore, ask your medical provider for more information.

When to See a Medical Provider

If you experience jaw, gum or tooth pain, book a dental checkup with the best Spokane dentist immediately at 509-822-5614 or contact us online. If you recently had oral surgery and you experience pain that does not go away with the use of medicine, a fever of 100.4℉ or greater or drainage from the surgical site, contact your surgeon right away. Those signs might be an indication of infection, which should be treated immediately. We are here to help!