Getting that bright, flawless smile isn’t always easy. In some cases, you may need to undergo different types of procedures, ranging from minor ones like teeth cleaning to surgical interventions like endodontic surgery.
Oral surgery may be necessary for several reasons. While it may not be your first choice when it comes to achieving optimal oral health, there are cases when you have no other choice if you wish to keep your teeth and gums are in good shape.
Fortunately, knowing the facts about such procedures can help ease your worries and fears. To help you get started, here are the six common conditions that may need surgical intervention:
1. Tooth Loss
Tooth loss due to injury or infection may require the use of dental implants. When using these oral appliances, dentists surgically place a post made from titanium metal into the jawbone. Over time, bone growth will make the implant sturdier, ready for the installation of a crown, a tooth-like replacement made from porcelain.
Dental implants are perfect for people who suffered from tooth loss and are looking for a long-term solution. However, only patients with adequate bone density and health and are willing to maintain proper oral hygiene are the only suitable candidates for this procedure.
2. Impacted Teeth
As the name implies, impacted teeth are characterized by the teeth being pressed too tightly together. Often, this manifests after the growth of the third molars or the so-called “wisdom teeth.”
While wisdom teeth erupt properly in some cases, it often doesn’t come out as aligned as it should. When these molars aren’t properly aligned, they become impacted between the jawbone and gums, causing pain, swelling, and infection along the teeth and gum tissue surrounding it.
On top of that, impacted third molars may also lead to permanent bone damage by forming tumors or cysts that may affect parts of the jaw. This is the reason why dentists recommend surgically removing them upon diagnosis.
It is worth noting, however, that wisdom teeth aren’t the only ones that can become impacted. Bicuspids and cuspids may also grow in a similar manner and cause the same issues.
3. Oral Cancer Examination and Lesion Removal
Also known as mouth cancer, oral cancer is a condition that is initially checked up through physical examination. Once the dentist spots sores, white patches, and other abnormalities in the mouth, he may also recommend testing the problem area through a biopsy. In some cases, an oral surgeon may be able to remove or manage lesions surgically.
4. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can be treated through dental splint appliances or positive pressure air machines. However, severe cases may require surgery once these non-surgical methods fail.
The procedure to treat sleep apnea surgically entails the removal of soft tissues along the oropharynx region located at the back of the mouth. In some cases, the lower jaw might be the issue.
5. Severe Tooth Decay
Non-surgical root canals aren’t always enough to deal with severe decay and save your tooth. This is the time when your endodontist – a dentist who specializes in treating soft tissues called the dental pulp – may advise you to undergo surgery.
An endodontic surgery allows the specialists to pinpoint tiny fractures or canals that were undetected by X-rays. It may also be done to remove excess calcium deposits in root canals and deal with damaged surfaces of the roots or bone surrounding the affected tooth.
6. Jaw Issues
Aside from dental issues, oral surgery may also be used to treat certain jaw problems.
Some people suffer from abnormal growth in the upper or lower jaws, which cause difficulty in eating, swallowing, speaking, and even breathing. Although cases like improper teeth alignment can be dealt with using aligners and braces, more severe issues require surgery to establish a healthy, functional, and more balanced jaw.
People suffering from the dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) – a joint located in the front of the ear where the skull and jaw are linked – may also benefit from surgical intervention.
Dysfunctional TMJ can cause severe facial pain and headache. In most cases, it can be alleviated by physical therapy, medication, and the use of splints. However, more advanced cases have a higher recovery rate after a specific problem is diagnosed and dealt with surgically.
Surgery for Optimal Oral Health
Feeling nervous prior to a surgical procedure is normal. After all, most people don’t want other people poking around their mouths.
To ease your worries, you must make sure that you’re well informed about the procedure, how it is done, and why it should be done. Having a certified dental professional on the driver’s seat is also reassuring for most people, so be sure to get treatment only from licensed dentists and practitioners.