A dentist can provide many services to help maintain and improve your oral health like cleanings, cavities, and root canals. But there are procedures that require the expertise of an oral surgeon. An oral surgeon is a doctor that has specialized in dental surgery rather than dental medicine, a DDS vs. DMD certification. They have also completed a surgical residency. Below are five procedures that your dentist will likely hand over to an oral surgeon.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
One of the most common procedures completed by oral surgeons is the removal of impacted wisdom teeth or molars that have failed to come in properly and have become impacted in the jawbone or gum tissue. This procedure reduces the risk of infection or teeth movement, common issues that can arise if the impacted wisdom teeth are left untreated.
A frenectomy is any surgery with the purpose of severing a frenulum, or a small fold of tissue that holds an organ in place. In the case of oral surgery, a frenectomy is a procedure to cut the lingual frenulum, the soft tissue that runs under the tongue, or the maxillary labial frenulum that connects your gum tissue to your bottom lip. The purpose of this surgery is to either correct restricted movement of the tongue or reduce receding gums caused by too much frenulum friction.
Surgery to correct TMJ disorder, or temporomandibular joint disorder, is another common procedure. The TMJ is a joint that connects your skull to your jawbone and acts as a moving hinge. A person with TMJ disorder may have a joint out of alignment or damaged cartilage. They experience pain in the joint as well as general facial pain, difficulty chewing, pain around the ear near where the joint is located, and often headaches. TMJ surgery may be necessary to alleviate the pain if it becomes severe and debilitating.
Another common procedure for oral surgeons is placing dental implants into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. In order to do this, the surgeon inserts a titanium post into the jawbone that will act as an artificial root once it has healed and becomes osseointegrated to the jawbone. The implant acts as an anchor for an artificial replacement tooth.
An oral surgeon is also the medical professional in charge of surgeries to treat cleft palate. A Cleft palate is a condition that affects infants whose nasal cavity and mouth have not grown together during fetal development. Oral surgeons often work in tandem with maxillofacial surgeons on this procedure, surgeons who specialize in facial reconstruction.
For more information, contact a local oral surgeon.