Oral Surgeon: A Specialist in Maxillofacial Surgery
Anxiety Relief From Your Oral Surgeon
Oral surgery involves treating teeth and tissues of the mouth. Although the "s" word might make you nervous, not all oral surgery procedures are that intensive. For example, tooth extractions are a form of oral maxillofacial surgery, but they often take just minutes, usually require just a local anesthesia and are oftentimes performed right in your general dentist's office. Other common types of oral and maxillofacial surgery include gum reshaping (to even out a gummy smile), dental implants (to replace missing teeth) and jaw surgery (to smooth the jawbone after an extraction). Oral surgery today is also much more advanced; laser technologies make procedures more comfortable, more precise and less time-consuming.
Q: Which oral surgery procedures use lasers?
A: Many types of oral maxillofacial surgery procedures use dental lasers to improve patient comfort and reduce post-op swelling and recovery time. Some examples of oral surgery in which dental lasers are used include crown lengthening, gum reshaping, lesion removal, gingivectomies, frenectomies and apicoectomies.
Q: Will I need to go under for oral surgery?
A: It depends on the type of oral and maxillofacial surgery you need and your level of comfort. For an oral maxillofacial surgery procedure such as an alveoplasty (a type of jaw surgery), you may only need local anesthesia; however, some people may prefer IV dental sedation or general anesthesia.
Extracting an erupted wisdom tooth usually requires just a local; but you may prefer conscious sedation or IV sedation if you're having an impacted wisdom tooth or several teeth removed and feel anxious. When it comes to oral surgery procedures, it's always best to be up front with your dentist about your concerns; this will help your dentist identify what type of anesthesia is best for you during treatment.
Q: Can oral and maxillofacial surgery help me stop snoring?
A: A laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty or LAUP is one common type of oral surgery for snoring. However, because the causes of snoring are so varied, oral maxillofacial surgery isn't always the best solution. A complete oral exam as well as an ear, nose and throat exam is essential. In many cases, simple adjustments can help - like sleeping on your side and avoiding drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes before bedtime.