Conditions Treated by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

oral surgeon Midland TXHas your dentist or physician referred you to an oral surgeon? An oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) diagnoses and treats a variety of conditions that affect the oral cavity and the face. These specialists do many things including the removal of wisdom teeth, treating traumatic facial injuries, bone grafting, and the placement of dental implants.

Following are a few conditions that an OMS can treat.

Tooth Loss

An OMS can treat tooth loss by placing dental implants. This procedure involves a deep understanding of oral anatomy and implant dentistry. Sometimes bone grafting is necessary prior to dental implantation, which is a procedure that an OMS can perform as well.

While tooth loss has far-reaching effects, replacing lost teeth with dental implants is the next best thing to biological teeth. Implants improve quality of life, increase oral function, and restore a person’s appearance.

Suspicious Lesions & Oral Cancer

Oral cancer claims thousands of lives each year. Detecting oral cancer early on is essential for securing a favorable prognosis. If your dentist or physician finds suspicious lesions inside your mouth or on your lips, he or she may refer you to an OMS for oral pathology. Oral pathology involves biopsying and analyzing tissue for malignancies.

Wisdom Tooth Arrival

The emergence of wisdom teeth can be problematic for oral health and wellbeing. These teeth are prone to becoming impacted and abscessed. They can also force teeth out of alignment and produce orofacial pain. Due to these oral health risks, an OMS will remove wisdom teeth through a surgical procedure called an extraction.

Traumatic Facial Injuries

Traumatic facial injuries often require the expert treatment of an oral surgeon. These injuries can affect delicate soft and hard tissue that can require surgery to reconstruct. Treating traumatic facial injuries can include suturing wounded tissue, corrective jaw surgery, tooth extractions, tissue grafting, and the placement of dental implants to replace lost teeth.

Malocclusions

A malocclusion is an unhealthy bite caused by improperly aligned jaws. Deformities or abnormalities in the alignment of the jawbones can be corrected through surgical procedures. Aligning the jaws through surgery improves oral function and quality of life.

If you’ve been referred to our practice, call Permian Basin Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today to reserve an appointment with one of our skilled oral surgeons.

Experiencing Symptoms Of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

wisdom teeth Midland TXPatients who have impacted wisdom teeth can experience certain symptoms or no symptoms at all. When your large third molars cannot erupt properly into the jaw, they can cause a number of issues. However, the timing of such problems can’t necessarily be predicted in advance.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with impacted wisdom teeth, you should schedule an evaluation with an oral surgeon. If your wisdom teeth have not erupted and you are in your late teens or early twenties, you should also consider such an evaluation, even if those wisdom teeth are not actively symptomatic.

Signs Of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

The most common problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth are infection and abscesses, which may be indicated by issues like pain or noticeable pus, swelling or bad breath. Impacted wisdom teeth can also develop cysts and tumors or cause damage to surrounding teeth as they continue to try to erupt into the jaw.

Patients with impacted wisdom teeth may also notice that their teeth are shifting out of their proper alignment as those wisdom teeth try to push through the gums. This can undo years of orthodontic treatment. Any of these symptoms warrants follow up with a dental professional.

When To Consider Extraction

If you are experiencing symptoms that could be caused by impacted wisdom teeth, you should be assessed by an oral surgeon to see if extraction is recommended. In most cases, extraction alone will eliminate the symptoms although follow-up treatment may be needed in some circumstances.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to wait until issues occur before considering wisdom tooth extraction. In order to avoid those consequences of impacted wisdom teeth, many patients will choose to undergo extraction even if they’re not experiencing discomfort. The timing of the procedure is also a consideration, as the extraction is more straightforward in younger patients, and they recover more quickly afterward.

Patients who are experiencing symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are encouraged to call our team at Permian Basin Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center for an evaluation. Extraction can give you symptom relief.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Helps to Keep Your Smile Straight

wisdom teeth Midland TXDo you have straight teeth? Perhaps you wore braces during your adolescence to maintain a healthy occlusion and improve the positioning of your teeth. Did you know that your wisdom teeth pose a threat to the spacing and positions of other teeth? It’s true; as wisdom teeth begin to emerge, they tend to cause orthodontic and occlusal issues because the mouth is too crowded for their arrival. This crowded situation normally means that teeth will begin to shift out of alignment. They might even become rotated and overlapped from the forces associated with wisdom tooth eruption.

Tooth Removal is typically recommended when it comes to wisdom teeth. Removing wisdom teeth can prevent unwanted tooth movement along with a host of other oral health issues. Our oral surgeons provide gentle wisdom tooth removal to help patients maintain optimal oral health.

Why do wisdom teeth cause problems?

Wisdom teeth, technically known as “third molars”, contribute to a variety of dental issues including increased risks for periodontal disease and dental caries. The reason these teeth cause problems is due to the time when they arrive and where they are located in the oral cavity.

Third molars erupt in early adulthood. This is many years after the last permanent, adult tooth has emerged. For years, adult teeth are left undisturbed while their roots establish their positions in the jaw. When wisdom teeth emerge, their arrival will crowd existing teeth while generating force to move teeth to unwanted positions.

The crowded situation that typically accompanies most wisdom tooth eruption means that many third molars will be impacted. An impacted tooth cannot fully emerge through the gingiva and instead becomes trapped in the bone and/or gums. Impacted teeth are practically impossible to clean. Many impacted teeth become infected. It’s not uncommon for patients to develop dental caries and gum disease on their wisdom teeth as well as neighboring teeth.

If your dentist has recommended wisdom tooth removal, call us at Permian Basin Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center today to reserve a consultation with our oral surgeons.

What Questions Should I Ask Before Choosing An Oral Surgeon?

oral surgeon Midland TXWhen researching what oral surgeon to use for a procedure such as wisdom tooth extraction or dental implant placement, patients may be interested in exploring several different aspects of the surgeon’s qualifications. Here are some questions that you may ask when deciding on an oral surgeon.

Do you have experience working on cases like mine? When facing an oral surgery procedure, it’s natural to want reassurance that your oral surgeon has experience performing that procedure in a variety of circumstances. Feel free to ask to see results of patients that the surgeon has treated previously as well.

What is your educational background? What specific training do you have to provide the treatment that I will receive? In addition to knowing that your oral surgeon has plenty of practice providing the intervention that has been recommended for you, it can also be helpful to know what kind of training the surgeon completed in order to be qualified to do so. Furthermore, you will want to check that your surgeon completed a post-graduate residency in the specialty at an accredited dental school.

How will you ensure my comfort and safety while I am in your care? Oral surgery patients want to receive care from providers who prioritize their comfort and monitor their safety throughout a surgical procedure. Ask about the sedation procedures that are used in the practice, as well as the surgeon’s preferred post-operative pain management strategies.

Will I be able to reach you if I have questions after the procedure? While you will receive detailed post-operative instructions before you leave our office, we understand that you may have additional questions or need clarification on something. Our office has a 24-hour answering service so that you may contact us for urgent issues at any time.

What forms of payment do you accept? You may want an oral surgery practice that accepts a variety of different payment options to help you fit the costs of your care into your budget.

Whatever questions you may have when seeking an oral surgeon, our friendly staff is happy to provide the information you need. Feel free to call our office at any time.

How to Deal With Dry Socket

wisdom teeth MidlandDry socket is a complication they can develop after you have a tooth extracted. If you have had wisdom teeth or other teeth removed, you should be aware of the symptoms of dry socket and what to do if it seems to be developing. If you do notice symptoms of dry socket, you should see your dentist or oral surgeon right away.

What Is Dry Socket?

When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms that fills the socket where the tooth used to be. This blood clot helps stanch bleeding and also protects the exposed nerves and bone left behind after the extraction. However, in some cases, the clot can become dislodged. This is called dry socket.

You should be aware of the symptoms of dry socket so you can notify your doctor as soon as possible if you notice them. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme discomfort at the extraction site
  • You can see that the blood clot has been dislodged
  • Bleeding at the extraction site

Dry socket can be extremely uncomfortable, so if the over-the-counter or prescription pain meds you have been recommended after your procedure seem not to be helping, or if your discomfort increases a day or two after the procedure, talk to your oral surgeon.

Preventing Dry Socket

Many of the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon are designed to prevent dry socket. After your procedure, you should be sure to follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use a straw
  • Eat soft foods for a day or two
  • Don’t brush your teeth over the extraction site
  • Follow any other instructions you have been given

If you do experience dry socket, your oral surgeon will treat it by packing the empty space with a sterile dressing to protect the socket. You might have to go back every day or two to have this dressing replaced. You can greatly reduce your chances of developing dry socket by diligently following your dentist’s aftercare instructions.

Call our office today if you have more questions.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: What are post-extraction considerations?

wisdom teeth MidlandHaving your wisdom teeth removed doesn’t have to be terribly disruptive to your schedule. The procedure is relatively routine at this point. However, it does involve a surgical procedure, and post-extraction complications can derail your recovery. Here are some considerations for an uneventful recuperation after wisdom tooth extraction.

Preventing infection will keep your healing process on track, so it’s important to follow the instructions provided by your oral surgeon to keep the extraction site clean and free from bacteria. You may need to adjust your brushing and flossing routine in the days immediately after your wisdom teeth are removed, but you still need to use alternative techniques recommended by your oral surgeon in order to keep the area clean. Your oral surgeon may also prescribe a course of prophylactic (preventive) antibiotics. If so, be sure to take the entire prescription, even if you are not symptomatic. Discontinuing antibiotics too soon may make you susceptible to infection.

Another common complication following wisdom tooth extraction is dry sockets. This painful condition develops when the blood clots either fail to form or are dislodged too soon from the tender empty socket. Your oral surgeon will also give you instructions to reduce your risk of this issue, and you should follow these closely, as well. For starters, avoid drinking straws until you have healed completely from the procedure. Smoking can also interfere with the healing process, so you should abstain from this habit for at least a few weeks. Ideally, you’ll choose to give up cigarettes for good at this opportunity. You may also need to include mainly softer foods in your diet for a few days to give yourself time to heal.

If you have any other questions about aftercare following your wisdom tooth extraction, contact our office and speak to one of our experienced team members. We are quite familiar with the problems most often encountered by patients after having their wisdom teeth removed, and we can make recommendations to help you reduce your risk.

Oral Surgery: What should I expect at the initial consultation?

oral surgeon Midland TXThe prospect of meeting with an oral surgeon for the first time can be intimidating, especially if the patient has not undergone any dental surgeries before. Knowing what to expect from this initial appointment can ease a patient’s nerves a bit, so here is an overview of what happens at the initial consultation.

We ask you to bring certain documentation with you to this initial visit to our office, including your insurance card and the referral form provided by your dentist that indicates the specific procedure you need, such as wisdom teeth extraction. You should also bring along any x-rays that were already taken by a different provider (or request for them to be sent electronically) so that the oral surgeon can avoid re-doing imaging unnecessarily.

Your first appointment is primarily intended to give the oral surgeon the opportunity to evaluate your case to begin planning the appropriate treatment. The surgeon will visually examine your jaw and may take additional x-rays or order other imaging, such as CT scans, if necessary to gather all of the information needed for the treatment plan.

The surgeon may also give you a general overview of the recommended treatment at this session. You will also get a chance to ask any questions you may have in order to make your treatment decision. If there will be no other appointments prior to the surgery, you may also leave the office with a detailed list of pre-operative and post-operative instructions. We ask that you closely follow these in order to minimize your risk of complications.

If you’re worried that the initial consultation might result in pain for you, we’d like to put that notion to rest. No aspect of this appointment should create new discomfort for you. If there is concern that the examination may trigger some existing discomfort, let us know in advance and we can plan for your comfort.

Do you have more questions about your initial consultation for wisdom teeth extraction or some other dental surgery? Call our office to get any additional information that you may need.

Why do we get Wisdom Teeth?

Midland wisdom teethThere are a few different theories as to why we get wisdom teeth, commonly referred to as third molars. Some believe that it is because our ancestors survived on a diet of coarse roots, nuts and meats. They were not privy to silverware and certainly did not cook their food. It is thought that these teeth were necessary to help chew and digest this abrasive diet. Others call on evolutionary wisdom to explain a theory that began many years ago when humans had wider jaws and could accommodate more teeth. No matter the history behind them, they can be a problem today.

Problems With Wisdom Teeth

Many people refer to wisdom teeth as the third molars and many dentists refer to them as the problem teeth. Wisdom teeth commonly erupt in early adulthood, long after the permanent teeth have come in. Many times, there is not room for them and other teeth tend to shift and become crowded. This can make it difficult to clean teeth thoroughly, inviting plaque and decay.

Wisdsom teeth often become impacted causing headaches, ear aches and discomfort in the jaw. Additionally, impacted teeth can become infected or even abscess. If this isn’t addressed immediately, infection can enter the bloodstream causing further health complications.

Removing Wisdom Teeth

It is often recommended that patients visit an oral surgeon to have their wisdom teeth removed, often as a preventative measure. Since we slice, cut and chop our food, the third molars are not a necessary part of our dentition. Sometimes patients wait until they experience discomfort to visit an oral surgeon. If infection is present, antibiotics may be necessary before the wisdom teeth can be extracted. On rare occasions, the wisdom teeth may erupt without issue, but they are so far back in the mouth they are difficult to keep clean.

If you still have your wisdom teeth, or you are experiencing discomfort which may stem from these third molars, call our office today. Our highly trained staff will help you explore your options so you can make the best decision for your oral health and general well-being.