Signs you need oral and maxillofacial surgery
Anyone who has ever dealt with the pain of a broken tooth can attest to the fact that having a tooth problem can be a nightmare. At such times, a dentist can help take the pain away by performing the required procedure, be it a tooth extraction or replacement.
However, there may be times when you experience a problem with your jaw. In this case, your dentist may recommend that you see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can perform basic dental tasks. However, they are better suited for more complex tooth and jaw issues. For instance, if you require an invasive procedure involving surgery or jaw alignment, then you would need this type of specialized medical practitioner.
Procedures performed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons
● Tooth extractions – One of the most common procedures done by oral and maxillofacial surgeons is tooth extractions. Often, patients may have wisdom teeth that are impacted or fail to grow into the bite properly. If your wisdom teeth are not developing properly and need removal, your dentist may recommend that you see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
● Dental implants – Many patients prefer to get dental implants as a replacement for missing teeth. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are usually the ones who are responsible for these procedures. Sometimes it may be necessary to carry out bone grafting depending on the condition of the jaw.
Other times, jaw reshaping to ensure a proper fit of the tooth implant may be carried out.
● Trauma – An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is skilled at working with both hard and soft tissue and is specialized in repairing facial structure. If a patient experiences severe facial trauma either from an accident or a dental injury, they will require reconstructive surgery. The surgeon can also perform noninvasive cosmetic surgery using facial implants.
● Corrective jaw surgery – Also known as orthognathic surgery, a patient may require this type of surgery if they have a misaligned bite, have jaw and skeletal defects from birth, or a severe orthodontic condition. During the procedure, the surgeon will work together with orthodontists to correct any structural issues with the jaw. The procedure is done under general anesthesia and involves reshaping the jaw and realignment of the teeth.
● Cleft lip surgery – An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can correct birth defects resulting in facial structural abnormalities such as a cleft lip.
Signs that you may need oral and maxillofacial surgery
Many of us know the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and doing regular exercises. However, most people do not understand the importance of a proper bite and how it impacts your general health, not to mention your looks.
Here are a few reasons why you may need to consider an oral and maxillofacial surgeon:
● If you have a hard time biting and chewing your food.
● If you find it difficult to swallow your food.
● If your teeth have worn out excessively.
● If you have birth defects such as a cleft lip or you have a facial injury.
● If you have a protruding jaw.
● If there are problems with your breathing while sleeping, including snoring, which may be a sign of sleep apnea.
● If you have a tendency for chronic mouth breathing which causes a dry mouth.
● If you have a receding chin.
● If the left and right sides of your face appear unbalanced.
● If you experience an open bite characterized by a space between the upper and lower front teeth when the mouth is shut.
● If you find it hard to make your lips meet without applying force.
● If you have poor jaw alignment.
● If you experience headaches induced by regular pain in the jaw, which can be a sign of temporomandibular jaw disorder.
Is oral and maxillofacial surgery dangerous?
Whenever you hear about corrective jaw surgery, it is easy to think of it as a dangerous and highly painful procedure.
However, thanks to technological advancements in the field of medicine, oral and maxillofacial surgeons can perform the procedure with amazing precision. As a result, there is less pain followed by much better outcomes.
Of course, there is bound to be some level of pain with any surgery when the anesthesia wears off and the body gets into recovery mode. Patients generally say they experience moderate levels of pain with corrective jaw surgery.
There are many reasons a patient may require oral and maxillofacial surgery. For instance, the patient might have an open bite, a protruding jaw bone, or need correction for a receding lower jaw bone. Surgery can lead to the reduction and elimination of pain caused by conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Consequently, with better oral health, the quality of life can be greatly improved.