Having teeth problems, dental conditions, or jawbone loss can affect your quality of life because they prevent you from smiling or laughing, which are some of the cost-free methods of relieving stress. Underlying conditions, injuries, and defects are the major contributors to functional and aesthetic issues in the mouth, denying you the healthy and functional teeth that make it easy to smile and laugh.
Luckily, you can restore a flawless smile and laugh through oral surgery, a medical procedure that targets the mouth, teeth, jaws, and face. A general dentist or oral surgeon can help you restore the smile to give you a good mood, relieve stress, keep your facial nerves calm and lower your blood pressure. If you are in Lomita, CA, and you are experiencing any oral problems requiring surgical intervention, Washington Dental is here to fix the problem through surgery.
What is Dental or Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery is any medical procedure performed in and around the mouth and on the jaws by a dental specialist with proper skills and training. The procedure targets oral conditions requiring surgical interventions, and it often focuses on the medical needs of the jaws, teeth, and gums.
Oral surgery may also be defined as oral maxillofacial surgery, a dental field that focuses on controlling underlying oral issues, illnesses, defects, and trauma causing or contributing to functional and aesthetic problems in or around the mouth and the jaws. The mouth, jaw, teeth, and face are referred to as the jawbone and facial area. So, any treatment that focuses on diagnosing and understanding the nature of the illness affecting the face and jaw area is called oral maxillofacial pathology.
The diseases handled by oral maxillofacial surgeons include those affecting the salivary glands, infections, ulcers, and cancer of the neck and head. Dental surgeons must be qualified in dentistry and medicine to diagnose and treat these conditions. However, some experts choose to concentrate on one field or both. The kind of expert, whether a surgeon or oral maxillofacial surgeon, to be assigned your case depends on the dental facility or clinic you visit for treatment.
Oral surgery involves many procedures like wisdom tooth extraction, corrective jaw surgical procedure, cancer treatment, and other dental procedures. The treatments can also be performed on the face, neck, or jaw based on the location of the problem.
Oral surgeons play a critical role in the health of general oral health. They handle problems beyond the beauty of your smile hence the right dental professionals to seek help from when you want to control and overcome oral issues.
Dental Problems Requiring Oral Surgery
Several oral conditions might require oral surgery. These are:
Dental Implants Placement
If you have missing teeth, esthetic, and ability issues stemming from jawbone deterioration, dental implants are the way to go if you are looking for a permanent solution to the problems. They provide support to bridges, dentures, crowns, and anchors in orthodontic treatment. Before the procedure, the oral surgeon must consult with your restorative dentist working on the crowns to ensure a collaborative treatment plan.
Similarly, before placing the implants, a dental surgeon must conduct a thorough examination of the teeth, order an X-ray, and consult with the team members.
Not everyone is a candidate for delta implants. So, if your jawbones have inadequate mass to support the implants, the surgeon must conduct bone grafting first, which involves removing bone from other parts of the body or using plastic ones to restore the bone and stabilize the jaw for the implant. The implants are then placed on the jaw, and you are given time for osseointegration to occur. Once osseointegration is complete, your restorative dentists create an impression of the lower and upper teeth used to model crowns. The crowns are then placed on the implants, and the process is completed.
You should consider obtaining dental implants for many reasons. These are:
- They enhance your smile and facial structure. Dental implants merge with your jawbone permanently, meaning they look and function like regular teeth. Further, they prevent jawbone loss or deterioration because they replace missing teeth, enabling you to maintain your facial structure.
- They improve your speech. Loss of teeth or ill-fitting dentures affect your speech, but when implants anchor these dentures, it means they cannot slide, thus letting you speak fluently.
- Implants eliminate the need for removable dentures, meaning they make you feel more comfortable.
- Implants simplify eating because they are permanently placed, meaning they feel and function like natural teeth.
Oral and Facial Injuries
Oral surgeons also treat maxillofacial traumas, injuries, or fractures in the eye sockets, jaws, cheekbones, or palate. These tissue injuries are riskier than hard tissue ones and often stem from car accidents, acts of violence, wounds, sports accidents, and motorcycle crashes. The injuries affect your speech, swallowing, sight and breathing, but luckily, with the help of a dental surgeon, the issues can be addressed.
What happens during this treatment is that a surgeon cuts to expose the bone. They utilize small screws, fixation appliances, or rubber-banded or wire to hold together the bone. Once this is done, it takes at least six weeks to heal fully, and at this time, you must stick to liquid diets and follow post-treatment instructions for proper aftercare.
If you have extensive and complex maxillofacial injuries or fractures, multiple incisions will be made to expose the bones and a blend of wiring and plating methods used for repositioning based on the location and extent of the injury.
Oral surgeons are qualified to perform cosmetic surgeries to correct physical malformations resulting from growth extraction, injuries, tumors, and congenital disabilities. Reconstructive surgeries are performed to bring back the shape and ability of the jaws and face. They might involve seeking skin, nerves, jawbones, and body tissues of other body parts to lay out the damaged parts.
On the other hand, facial cosmetic procedures are performed in the dental office using local anesthesia. They are also less invasive and can be performed on outpatients, meaning they are same-day surgery. The typical cosmetic or reconstructive procedures oral surgeons are allowed to engage in include:
- Eyelid surgery that removes fat and unwanted skin from the eyelids
- Cheekbone implant that helps enhance your facial structure and achieve prominent cheekbones
- Chin surgery that adjusts, either by increasing or decreasing the chin’s length and projection
- Ear surgery that helps adjust the shape, size, and placement of the years
Corrective Orthognathic or Jaw Surgery
The role of an orthodontist is to correct malocclusions resulting from misaligned teeth. While a dental surgeon corrects these occlusion problems, they further perform jaw surgery to correct all small and severe dental jaw and bony irregularities or anomalies to enhance eating, speech, and breathing. Jaw misalignment usually stems from teeth misalignment, accidents, and stress. Thankfully, by partnering with an orthodontist, your oral surgeon can reconstruct and realign your lower and loftier jaws, to restore normal functioning and esthetics. However, they must establish if you are a candidate for the procedure first.
Note that esthetics is not the main reason for performing a jaw surgery, although it is one of the results obtained from the process. The main agenda of the surgery is to correct functional problems to enable you to chew, speak and breathe normally. Also, you must understand that the dental surgeon adopts a collaborative treatment plan where they work hand in hand with an orthodontist for several years before the desired outcome is achieved.
The maxillofacial conditions that corrective jaw surgery corrects include:
- Protruding jaw
- Breathing issues while asleep
- Congenital disabilities
- Unbalanced facial appearance
- Chronic jaw pain
Jaw surgery takes several hours, hence why it is performed in a hospital, ambulatory surgical unit, or a dental surgeon’s office after administering general anesthesia.
The procedure involves extracting, adding, or reshaping jawbones, and it uses screws, plates, wires, and rubber bands to hold the bones in position as you recover. In case cuts are necessary, they are made in the mouth to prevent visible scarring. Once the procedure is over, the dental surgeon will recommend that you stay away from foods that require hard chewing because they might cause severe damage to the progress made in treatment.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing problems like snoring while asleep. It occurs when there is relaxation of throat muscles, intermittently blocking the airways when sleeping. If you start experiencing these problems, you should talk to your general dentist about it to perform polysomnography, a nighttime test that keeps track of your manner of sleep. If a problem is discovered after the test, they will advocate the appropriate treatment based on the severity or mildness of the breathing problem. Although you can use non-surgical procedures for mild apnea, the best answer to this problem is undergoing surgical treatment.
The operations that can correct breathing problems while asleep are:
- Maxillomandibular advancement; the operational shifting of the loftier and lower jaws to allow free air passage.
- Genioglossus advancement; a surgical treatment that tightens the anterior tongue tendon to allow air passage on the upper side, reducing the dislodgement of the tongue into the gullet.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is an operation that tightens and compresses the soft palate by partial extraction of the UVula to treat a cave-in in the airways.
Eliminating Facial Pain
One of the primary causes of facial pain is temporomandibular joint disorder. To diagnose the syndrome, the general dentist will request imaging readings of the hinges or refer you to a specialist for diagnosis. Based on the diagnosis, you might require conservative oral and health care or complex surgery, and when medication and non-drug therapies, you will need an arthroscopy or direct surgical approach to correct the problem.
When do you Need Oral Surgery?
If your teeth and jaw problems are very complex, your general dentist will refer you to a dental surgeon. Impacted wisdom teeth that require extraction will need a surgeon because of their location, while gum grafts and periodontal disease will see you sent to a periodontist who will perform the various oral surgeries.
After a thorough analysis of your oral condition, that is only when your general dentist can determine if you need oral surgery. If the procedure is necessary, you will be referred to the right specialist.
How do you Prepare for Oral Surgery?
When you are about to undergo dental surgery, you need to prepare well to avoid complications and ensure a quick recovery. The preparations for the procedure are like those of other serious medical procedures and depend on the oral surgery you are about to undergo.
Have a Detailed Discussion of the Procedure with your Oral Surgeon
When you walk into the oral surgeon’s office, you are likely to ask about the description of the operation, the type of anesthesia to be administered, and recovery time. However, you may shy away from asking silly yet crucial questions.
Do not leave anything to chance when discussing the procedure. Be sure to ask about the conditions that may result in complications during the operation and share any underlying conditions or allergens that might affect the treatment. If you suffer from anxiety, ask about the oral surgeon’s relaxation measures to help you relax.
Plan your Transportation and Post-Operative Care
Arranging for transportation and aftercare might seem like a no-brainer, but it can have a considerable impact. Local anesthesia can impair your judgment making it unsafe to drive, so you need to arrange for transport if the procedure is being performed on an outpatient basis.
If you live alone, you might want to have someone stay with you overnight after the procedure. Also, you should prepare your place and ensure it’s clean before leaving or have someone do the cleaning on your behalf.
Adhere to Pre-Surgery Instructions
Generally, you are advised not to eat or drink anything 8 to 12 hours before the procedure. If the surgery will require local anesthesia, you are allowed to take a light meal two hours before the procedure, but ensure you brush and floss the teeth properly after the meal.
Advantages of Oral Surgery
Your jawbone is the basis of your facial structure, and it’s what makes you look the way you are. If it is misaligned or deteriorating, it’s likely to affect your entire facial appearance and health. Although it might not seem like a severe condition for someone not suffering from the illness, patients with this oral condition suffer emotional and psychological turmoil. Luckily, there are oral surgeons in Lomita ready to help. They perform maxillofacial surgeries to correct the misalignments to improve your facial layout, restore functionality and prevent other problems you have been experiencing before the operation.
The benefits of dental surgery include:
It Enhances your Speech
If you have misaligned teeth or jaws, you will likely experience problems speaking because the tongue will enter the space between the teeth. However, the contact of the teeth improves after oral surgery, thus rectifying the speech problem.
The procedure is essential, especially for kids when they learn how to speak and pronounce words. If teeth misalignment affects their speech and word pronunciation at this stage, their speech might be affected their entire life. Therefore, oral surgery shouldn’t be delayed for these kids because it will improve their speech and prevent lifetime speech issues.
When oral surgery is used to correct teeth and jaw misalignment, you can chew and swallow food appropriately. Although misalignment causes minor issues while eating, you might feel pain when eating, but this pain goes away when the misalignment is corrected through an operation.
The typical symptom of many dental problems is tremendous pain and headaches. Fortunately, once oral surgery is undertaken to correct the problem, the pain goes away. If you are having jaw problems, jaw surgery will eliminate the pain to no longer have to rely on painkillers.
You Sleep Better
If your jaws protrude outwards or recess inwards, you are likely to have breathing problems while asleep, forcing you to breathe through the mouth or snore. Maxillofacial surgery can rectify this problem and help you breathe typically, thus having improved sleep. Better sleep, in turn, improves the quality of your life because it enhances productivity.
Recovered Joint Pain
If you suffer from jaw, teeth, or gum issues, you understand the pain associated with these dental issues. That pain affects almost every aspect of your life, including lowering your quality of life and productivity. Sometimes, you might be forced to keep your mouth open for extended hours, straining your teeth and joints. Luckily, oral surgery corrects these issues, thus healing your joint pain, which helps you enjoy everyday life and perform your routines without worrying about pain.
Choosing the Right Dental Surgeon
As seen above, undergoing oral surgery to correct your oral problems has many benefits. The procedure helps you live a healthier, joyful, and highly productive life. Unfortunately, not every oral surgeon who performs these procedures can achieve quality results. You need to find an experienced and skilled dental surgeon to increase your chance of achieving the desired look.
Before you go out to look for a dental surgeon, you must consider your oral needs first. It will help if you understand your oral condition because this will point you in the right direction. Most patients find dental surgeons through referrals from the general dentist. If you walk in for a consultation and after a thorough examination, the dentist concludes you need dental surgery, they will recommend a few names to go for treatment.
Not every recommendation is correct, so, do your homework on the referrals you are given to ensure the right person does the operation to meet your expectations. Find previous customers of the surgeon you are considering and obtain their testimonies regarding their experience in the hands of the expert.
After, go online and research the various oral surgeons in Lomita and list these professionals. To pick the best from your list, consider the following factors:
Their Length Of Service
The longer the surgeon you are considering has been in the industry, the higher their experience. However, someone might have been in the industry for a long time but not performing the surgical procedures you want. Therefore, you should call the dentists on your list to inquire about the number of procedures they have performed before. If you want a corrective orthognathic procedure, find out the number of like procedures they perform annually to determine their experience. If they perform over ten operations, then you are at the right place.
Level of Competency
You need to find the kind of skills and training the oral surgeon possesses. If they have a higher level of training and medical experience, you are at the right place.
Similarly, the field of dentistry experiences a lot of advancements both technologically and in terms of techniques, meaning you need to find a dental surgeon that undergoes regular training and continuing education programs. These professionals will use the latest dental tools and techniques to operate, thus achieving the desired results.
The Cost of the Procedure
Prices for oral surgeons in Lomita vary from one dental clinic to another, but the treatment is expensive compared to other dental treatments. Call a few dental clinics on your list and request detailed quotes that include additional costs. Evaluate each element of the quote and pick the oral surgeon charging reasonable prices without compromising the quality of services.
Also, you must know the payment modes that are acceptable by the dental experts. The more flexible they are in payment modes, the easier it will be for you to pay for the treatment.
Find the Right General Dentist Near Me
Oral surgery is a critical branch of general dentistry that corrects all oral issues in and around the mouth and jaws. If you are in Lomita and need the treatment, our dental surgeons at Washington Dental are willing to help you achieve your oral goals. We understand that laughing reduces stress and lowers blood pressure and that a smile helps calm your jaws, which is why we want to give you a perfect and healthy smile. Call us today at 310-326-5183 to arrange a meeting.