Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons are an ADA recognized specialty in dentistry. These specialized dentists perform all types of surgery in and about the oral cavity. They have received post-doctoral training and have completed residency training at a hospital. Some Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons even have dual degrees--both a medical and dental degree. They work more than any other dental specialist in the hospital setting and are more adept at handling medically compromised patients.
As specialists, they can make a difficult extraction much easier for the patient. Using techniques and instruments that are highly specialized to their field, a root that may take a general dentist 45 minutes to extract, can be done in just minutes--with much less distress for the patient.
In addition to making the procedure more pleasant and tolerable for the patient, they also perform certain procedures that many General Dentists do not.
When we suspect you will require a surgical extraction, you will most likely be referred to this type of dental specialist, who will make this procedure more pleasant and faster. Surgical extractions require that bone be removed to extract the root. In such cases where bone is removed, this can leave a significant defect in the alveolar bone. At one time, it was routine to just let such surgical defects fill in as they would, resorb and then deal with the effects of the surgery afterwards. This could mean problematic sore spots under dentures, problems retaining dentures, an inability to place an implant at this site, or poor results with a bridge, should the patient ever desire these services.
Today, it is quickly becoming the standard of care to fill in these bone defects created by surgical extractions, with different types of bone grafting material. Doing so will allow the site to heal much better and the patient will end up with a well formed ridge that does not cause problems down the road.
We also routinely refer patients who will have multiple teeth extracted for their denture, especially if the patient has had a lot of bone loss secondary to gum disease. The uneven ridges in such patients can often pose problems under the denture--creating more sore spots and requiring a much longer period of time to adapt to the new prosthesis. Oral surgeons will routinely do a procedure called an alveoplasty on the ridge when extracting the teeth. This procedure smoothes, even and prepares the bone to hold a denture once it heals.
Those patients requiring wisdom tooth extraction are also routinely sent to the oral surgeon, who has specialized imaging equipment to evaluate the risk of nerve damage that can associated with this type of surgery.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons can also provide patients with concious sedation during their surgery for patients who are axious or procedures that they deem more difficult for the patient. This type of sedation for patients usually causes the patient to have no recollection of the procedure and greatly improves the experience.
It is our intent to provide the best care for our patients. When we refer to an oral surgeon, we know that this is the best course of treatment for our patients considering the procedures they require.