Oral Surgeons are dental specialists with specific training and expertise in the surgery of the mouth, face and jaw, including the removal of the teeth. Dental graduates must study for an additional minimum of five years to become an oral surgeon, which includes the following procedures, plus specialist training in sedation techniques and working under general anaesthetic.
What are some of the procedures that an Oral Surgeon performs?
WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL
It is not unusual for wisdom teeth to become "stuck", wedged in, or what we call impacted. They are the last teeth to come through into the mouth and often there is not enough room for them. Most people have four wisdom teeth but up to 10% of the population are missing one or more. When wisdom teeth become impacted they cause a number of problems and in this case, you may be recommended to see an oral surgeon.
SURGICAL DENTAL IMPLANT PLACEMENT
This is the process of drilling into the jawbone to place a titanium screw which will act as your new tooth’s root, ideally for the rest of your life. This is an extremely important part of the procedure as extreme accuracy is required to avoid nerve damage, place at the right angle for correct function and ensure the implant is not drilled in too deep. Placing the titanium implant must be precise to the millimetre, which is why specialist training is required otherwise there can be serious repercussions.
SALIVARY GLAND PROBLEMS
Most salivary gland problems are caused by a blockage with a salivary stone in the duct or by infection. These can usually be detected and removed. However, occasionally the submandibular gland has to be removed in which case an incision is made just below the jaw bone and the submandibular gland removed.
Some people suffer from disorders affecting one or both TMJs (Temporomandibular Joints or commonly referred to as the jaw joint), muscles and surrounding tissues. These disorders often cause jaw pain, headaches and restricted jaw function.
Can my dentist do oral surgery?
There are surgical procedures, such as extractions, which your general dentist may be able to carry out but unless they have had significant continued training in the field, most will refer procedures onto oral surgeons. However, there are dentists who take interest in oral surgery and pursue further personal training to become confident and proficient in oral surgeries and broaden their overall skillset.
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