When it comes to the needs of your teeth, there are some things you just "know." For instance, after six months have passed, you know it's time to schedule your biannual visit for a cleaning. And when you're feeling a throbbing pain in one of your teeth that won't seem to go away, you know it's probably a good time to get in touch with your dentist.
But as it pertains to oral surgery and when you may require it, there are often more unknowns than knowns. This article should give you a better idea of situations in which an appointment with your oral surgeon may be appropriate.
Wisdom tooth removal
At the very back of your mouth are your wisdom teeth, which are otherwise known as the third and fourth molars. While many people go their entire lives with their wisdom teeth in place without a problem, it's not uncommon for individuals to experience discomfort. This is particularly common in someone's younger years when the wisdom teeth break through the gum line. In some cases, the pain may stem from these molars not erupting all the way out. In others, the structure of the jaw may cause crowding of the teeth when the wisdom teeth make their appearance. This crowding may necessitate having them extracted, especially if people have braces or plan to be fitted for some. If you're experiencing symptoms like localised swelling, pain, fever or your dentist tells you there's an infection around your wisdom teeth, then contacting your oral surgeon may be necessary. But don't worry, as this type of oral surgery is very straightforward and is done while you're asleep since it requires anesthesia.
Sleep apnoea — something that affects between 2% to 4% of Kiwis, according to studies — is a sleep disorder that is characterised by brief periods in which a person stops breathing while asleep. This, of course, adversely affects sleeping patterns, both for the person with the condition and for their partners due to snoring. If you know someone who has this condition, then you probably also know there are several ways of treating it, the most common method being with a CPAP machine. But these devices aren't always effective, evidenced by the person's continued snoring, laboured breathing, excess salivation or a combination of these symptoms. In such situations, oral surgery may be required. Once the surgeon performs an examination to discover what's causing the problem, they may need to remove loose tissue that is blocking airways, which may be the source of the snoring. This tissue is likely somewhere near the back of the throat, or more specifically, the oropharynx, which lies between the hyoid bone and the soft palate.
Similar to jaw pain, the loss of a tooth can occur for a variety of reasons, be it from a blow to the face after a fall or the intentional removal of the tooth by a surgeon because of severe decay. But once that tooth is removed, it needs to be replaced to avoid bone loss. Thus, your dentist will likely recommend having the problematic tooth replaced with a dental implant. If several teeth were removed, then a bridge may be a better option.
At City Dentists, we don't just clean teeth — we restore them too, offering several oral surgery treatments that can dramatically improve not just your smile, but your overall quality of life. From wisdom teeth removal to sedation dentistry and much more, we're a full-service oral care service center. Contact us today or set up an appointment online.