A variable range of problems with teeth, gum, jawbone and other bony or soft tissues of the mouth can require treatment by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. This particular form of treatment is known as “dentoalveolar surgery”. Alveolar is the bone that surrounds and supports the teeth.
The following forms of treatment are common surgical procedures performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon:
Extraction of a tooth or retained root
Extraction of a dead tooth which often occurs due to weakening from large fillings that may have had root canal treatment is typical in middle-age or elderly people.
Extraction of impacted or misplaced teeth, also known as the third molars is common, particularly in young people who may be undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Sometimes removal of a retained tooth root is required.
Aid in orthodontic treatment
Dentoalveolar surgery is often beneficial in assisting the normal positioning of an unerupted tooth. Also, extraction of an erupted and normal tooth that is crowding other teeth, or in uncommon cases, one or more extra permanent teeth, known as supernumerary teeth. Sometimes, removal of an abnormal labial frenum (the fold of tissue connecting the middle of the upper lip with the gums) is necessary.
Removal of cysts or lesions
Sometimes, the removal of fluid-filled cysts in the jaw bone is undertaken as well as removal of tumours, which are generally non-cancerous but can occasionally be malignant.
Aid in root canal treatment
Occasionally, removal of the tip of a root during root canal treatment (known as apicectomy) is performed to treat or prevent a dentoalveolar abscess.
Sometimes a biopsy and surgical removal of abnormal tissue that is usually non-cancerous is required to determine the diagnosis of a lesion.
Aids to fitting of partial or complete dentures
In some cases, removal of excess gum tissue or scar tissue on or around the dentoalveolar ridge and removal of bony outgrowths from the alveolar bone is required.
The decision to undergo surgery
Dentoalveolar surgery is undertaken only after careful consideration and discussion with your surgeon. The decision is always yours and if you are uncertain about anything regarding your treatment, you should not hesitate to discuss this with your surgeon.
Your dental and medical history
Inform your surgeon about any general health or dental problems you have previously or are currently undergoing. This assists your surgeon in the planning of your treatment.
Inform your surgeon of all medicine you are currently taking or have taken in the past. This includes any bisphosphonates (for the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone conditions), the contraceptive pill and any over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin or cough medicines. Tell your surgeon if you have had any allergy or reaction to antibiotics or other medications. This information may affect your treatment, including x-ray examination, anaesthesia, pain relief, antibiotic and other medications.
Your surgeon may order x-ray examinations of your teeth and jaws. This will assist your surgeon in determining the best possible treatment plan for you.
Inform your surgeon if you are or may be pregnant.
What type of anaesthesia will I undergo
Your surgeon will advise you whether the procedure should be performed under a general anaesthetic, IV sedation or a local anaesthetic.