Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Adults can have up to 32 teeth.  The wisdom teeth are the last to come through, right at the back.  They usually appear when you are between 17 and 25, although sometimes they appear many years later.Nowadays people often have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth – 28 is often the most we have room for.  So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the wisdom teeth to come through properly.

Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. The teeth, which have been damaged by decay or fracture, will be repaired and restored with a filling, crown or other treatment by the dentist. But sometimes if the damage is too extensive, the teeth cannot be repaired. Then it is necessary to do the extraction.

Reasons for extraction:

• The extra teeth that block other teeth from coming in.

• People undergoing orthodontic work may need teeth extracted to create room for the teeth that are being moved into place.

• The people, who are having radiation to the head and neck, may need to have teeth in the field of radiation extracted.

• The people who are receiving chemotherapy may need to have the teeth extracted. Because chemotherapy weakens the immune system and the risk of infection increases. So these teeth may need to be extracted.

• The people receiving an organ transplant may need some teeth extracted. Because when immunosuppressive medications are given, there is a risk of becoming sources of infection for the teeth after the transplant.

• Impacted teeth, especially third molars, commonly come during the late teen years or early twenties. These teeth are often extracted either before or after they come in. These teeth get stuck in the jaw and they need to be extracted if they are decayed or cause pain.

Jaw-Related Problems

  • Unequal jaw growth. In some individuals, the upper and lower jaws fail to grow properly. This can cause difficulty in speaking, eating, swallowing, and breathing. While some of these problems -- like improper teeth alignment -- can be corrected with braces and other orthodontic appliances, more serious problems require oral surgery to move all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both into a new position that is more balanced, functional, and healthy.
  • Improve fit of dentures. For first-time denture wearers, oral surgery can be done to correct any irregularities of the jaws prior to creating the dentures to ensure a better fit. Oral surgery can also help long-term denture wearers. Supporting bone often deteriorates over time resulting in dentures that no longer fit properly. In severe cases, an oral surgeon can add a bone graft to areas where little bone remains.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Dysfunction of the TMJ, the small joint in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet, is a common source of headache and facial pain. Most patients with TMJ disorders can be successfully treated with a combination of oral medications, physical therapy, and splints. However, joint surgery is an option for advanced cases and when the diagnosis indicates a specific problem in the joint.

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