Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a dental specialty that treats conditions of the head, neck, face, jaws, and mouth.
Dental extraction refers to the removal of teeth. While any tooth can be extracted, wisdom teeth are the most common, as they’re at the highest risk of impaction (coming in at an angle) and other issues. Also referred to as third molars, wisdom teeth are theorized to have helped our ancestors to grind plant tissue. Over time, however, as our diets changed and our jaws got progressively smaller, we soon found ourselves without room for a third set of molars; in fact, it’s relatively common to be born without them.
Extractions can be performed on one or more teeth at a time, and begin with either a local anesthetic, which numbs the area, or general anesthetic, which renders the patient unconscious for the duration of the operation. As necessary, gum tissue will be cut to expose the tooth, which is then moved back and forth until it can be removed. Sometimes, however, a tightly impacted tooth will need to be broken into pieces prior to removal. Depending on the nature of the operation, sutures may be applied to close the area.
After the operation, it is very important to follow our post-operation instructions to ensure your recovery is as quick and easy as possible.
3. Extraction Site Preservation
It’s important to consider what you’d like to do with the empty space created by an extraction. Wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth, so their absence generally won’t create any issues. For extractions on non wisdom teeth, a bone graft can often be necessary to maximize the best outcome for the patient. While this sounds pretty scary at first, the truth is that bone grafting in the oral cavity today is a routine, predictable and painless procedure and allows the best chance for the bone to heal back so a replacement tooth will have something to attach to. For other teeth, however, you may want to consider an implant or bridge.
While you can trust that Dr. Vincent will bring this up, you’re always welcome to open the conversation and we’ll be happy to help you come up with a plan.