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Different Types of Oral Surgery

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons undergo years of extensive education and training, which allows them to perform many different types of oral surgery.

“Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMS) are the only dental specialists recognized by the American Dental Association surgically trained in a hospital-based residency program for a minimum of four years,” says the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). “OMS residents train alongside medical residents in internal medicine, general surgery and anesthesiology, otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat), plastic surgery, emergency medicine and other medical specialty areas.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are Extensively Trained and Qualified to Administer Anesthesia

Not only do OMS have the expertise to handle everything from tooth extractions to facial trauma to sleep apnea surgeries, but they are also trained in all aspects of anesthesia administration.

“During the four to six years of training in a hospital-based surgical residency program, OMS residents evaluate patients for anesthesia, deliver the anesthetic and monitor post-anesthetic patients during the medical anesthesiology service,” says the AAOMS.

At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery many of the surgical procedures require the use of IV anesthesia to sedate and relax, as well as relieve pain for the patients.

Common Types of Oral Surgery

OMS are the surgical specialists within the dental profession. Some of the common types of oral surgery they perform include:

  • Tooth Extraction: The Cleveland Clinic says this is the most common type of oral surgery. There are many reasons that millions of patients need a tooth removed each year including periodontitis (gum disease), dental trauma, severe tooth decay, impacted teeth, crowded teeth, extra teeth, and preparation for prosthetic devices such as dentures.
  • Wisdom Tooth Removal: Wisdom teeth (also called third molars) are the last teeth to develop and erupt into the mouth, typically between the ages 17 and 25. Fully functional wisdom teeth do not need removal, but oftentimes wisdom teeth are removed, especially if they present with any of the following: dental pain, poor oral hygiene, infection, periodontal disease, cavities, cysts, tumors or other pathology, and damage to neighboring teeth.
  • Dental Implants: Extensive surgical training allows OMS to successfully place dental implants in most patients, even if they have been deemed as higher risk. The Cleveland Clinic says that “dental implants are widely considered the most reliable and longest-lasting teeth replacement option available.” Total treatment time can range from six weeks to over a year depending on the complexity of the case.

  • Sleep Apnea Surgery: Sleep apnea, which causes disrupted breathing during sleep, can lead to profoundly serious health problems. Some patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)  can benefit from surgery to alter the structure of their jaw, palate, or upper airway. OSA in mild or moderate form can be treated with conservative methods, such as CPAP machines or oral appliances, but some severe cases may require surgery.
  • Facial Injury/Trauma Surgery: Special training is needed to treat facial trauma and injury. The AAOMS says that “the American College of Surgeons states that a multi-disciplinary approach – in which the surgical team is composed of specialists in oral and maxillofacial surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and ophthalmology – is beneficial for the treatment of complex craniofacial injuries.” These surgeries can include treating fractures to the teeth and jaws, fractures of other facial bones and soft tissue injuries to the face and mouth.
  • Dental Bone Graft: Bone loss in the jaw can require a dental bone graft. Bone grafts can be performed to prepare for dental implants. Bone grafts can also be required to repair defects of the jaw stemming from traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects.
  • Corrective Jaw Surgery: Patients that experience problems speaking, swallowing and/or chewing could benefit from corrective jaw surgery. This procedure can correct a range of major and minor dental and skeletal irregularities, realigning teeth and improving basic functions such as breathing and chewing.
  • TMJ Surgery: Patients who experience jaw joint pain, restricted jaw movement, open or closed locking of the joint, and other jaw joint related issues may benefit from a joint procedure or even a total joint replacement.
  • Oral, Head and Neck Pathology: Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to identify and treat benign and malignant (cancerous) pathology of the head, neck, and mouth. Malignant tumors are treated by fellowship trained OMS.
  • Apicoectomy: Healthgrades says “Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform apicoectomies when a root canal procedure can’t be completed because the tooth’s root is hooked at the bottom, which prevents the root canal file from reaching the very tip of the root.” OMS will remove the tip of the root and fill the space with inert material during this surgery.
  • Periodontal Surgery: Patients with moderate to severe periodontitis may need gum disease treatment. The Cleveland Clinic says in this procedure, “incisions are made along your gum line and the tissue is temporarily moved back away from your teeth. Your surgeon will then clean your teeth roots, flushing away plaque and bacteria that have accumulated under your gums. Finally, the gum tissue is repositioned and sutured into place.” Augmentation or rebuilding of the bone or soft tissue may be completed at the same time.
  • Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery: Most cleft lip and palate surgeries are now completed in the major medical centers with a multi-disciplinary team of OMS, Plastic Surgeons, ENT surgeons, and speech pathologists among other specialties. Once a patient has finished growing, an OMS will typically complete the surgical process with a surgery to correct the skeletal position of the jaws.

Contact Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for comprehensive care by our board-certified doctors for any injuries, diseases and issues that may require oral surgery.

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