Individuals are provided with a range of oral surgery options to treat a range of conditions impacting dental and overall health. Individuals in need of oral surgery may have conditions, such as:
The type of treatment and oral surgery procedure depends on the conditions being treated and severity. Where risk of oral trauma and ill-health is high, oral surgery may be a priority.
Poor dental health may affect an individual's communication and nutritional choices. Oral infections and diseases may lead to health complications, such as diabetes and heart disease. Oral surgery is a means of restoring dental and oral function for healthier lifestyle choices, eliminating pain and discomfort, enhancing facial appearance and increasing self-confidence.
Oral surgery also serves as the basis for other dental and cosmetic dentistry treatments, including:
Tooth extraction is a form of oral surgery used to treat patients with tooth and bone damage resulting from decay, gum infection and disease. In most cases, dentists try to restore damaged teeth and preserve existing dental structure. However, where damage is severe and oral blood vessels and nerves are damaged, it may be best to remove the tooth to protect the patient's future oral and overall health.
Where patients suffer from severe orthodontic conditions such as teeth overcrowding, malocclusion or jaw disorders, oral surgery may be necessary to return oral function and bite to normal. Tooth extraction may be used to remove excess teeth that cause overcrowding before a fixed, functional or removable brace system is used to correct teeth positioning. Modern orthodontic treatments include Invisalign, the Inman Aligner and Damon Braces.
Individuals first have their oral health evaluated at the clinic. The oral surgeon uses the latest technology to accurately identify oral condition and severity. Individuals are involved in diagnosis and treatment recommendations for choices in dental care.
Should a person consent to tooth extraction as a treatment, either on its own or as preparation for other dental or cosmetic dentistry treatment, the oral surgeon will explain exactly what to expect from oral surgery. All risks, benefits and costs of oral surgery are discussed.
When treatment commences the patient is administered local anaesthetic to the treatment site or tooth extraction site. Usually a small injection is used for the local anaesthetic. Patients also have choices in sedation, particularly those that suffer dental phobia who may be at risk due to their anxiety levels.
Once anaesthetic with or without sedation such as intravenous (IV) sedation is administered and the treatment site is numb for pain-free treatment, the oral surgery procedure will follow. An elevator is used to lift gum tissue and expose the tooth requiring extraction. Small incisions are made within the gum tissue to access the tooth root to be removed.
Either the tooth is fully extracted using special dental instruments, such as trauma-free physics forceps, or the tooth is removed piece-by-piece to prevent any dental damage where risk is higher. Then, self-dissolving stitches are used to seal the socket and this is padded to aid blood-clotting. It is necessary for the blood clot to form for tooth socket healing.
Wisdom tooth extraction procedures are similar and are required when wisdom teeth become unhealthily impacted, such as horizontal, vertical, mesial and distal impaction. Cavities, cysts, gum disease and pericoronitis affecting wisdom teeth usually require wisdom tooth extraction.
Dental examination of impacted teeth enables the patient to understand the severity of their wisdom tooth impaction and how their health may be affected if the condition is left untreated. Dentists provide patients with guidance and treatment recommendations for wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth that grow askew into neighbouring teeth and develop into the gum tissue and jaw bone and do not erupt fully are at risk of developing gum inflammation and infection. Part of the reason is because the irregularly-developed wisdom tooth makes oral cleaning harder. Food may remain trapped between the impacted wisdom tooth and neighbouring teeth, or below the gum line, causing plaque and bacteria to develop.
Oral surgeons use similar surgical procedures to remove the impacted wisdom tooth. Where patients suffer high anxiety sedation treatment may be necessary to give the individual greater relaxation. A local anaesthetic is also provided to numb the wisdom tooth site before the tooth is accessed for extraction via gum tissue incision and lift. The procedure is pain-free and post-care instructions provided by the oral surgeon are similar to those for other tooth extractions.
Oral surgery procedures differ depending on the type of oral surgery and patient preference. Surgical procedures may include laser or scalpel use, and each has their benefits and risks. Oral surgeons carefully advise patients on the risks and complications inherent within the type of oral surgery they are recommended and consent to.
Post-oral surgery guidance is provided to patients for their healthy recovery. Healing may differ for each patient based on their health condition and rate of recovery. Dentists and oral surgeons aim to make this recovery period as pain-free and comfortable as possible. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications and/or painkillers may be prescribed to reduce discomfort.
Patients are encouraged to discuss the oral surgery procedure with their dentist to ensure they understand their care plan and what to expect from treatment.
Oral surgery information for further reading.