Surgery is usually a word that brings apprehension to people. “You need to see the surgeon” isn’t words we all look forward to hearing. It represents a lot of risks and maybes. So when people hear “oral surgeon” or “oral surgery”, they immediately think it’s going to be complicated. I can assure you, that is far from the truth in a lot of cases.
Oral Surgeons have extra training and certification from the dental board to perform a lot of different procedures on patients’ mouths. They do anything from simply pulling out a tooth, to wisdom teeth extractions to more complicated jaw and facial surgeries. A typical Oral Surgeon goes to dental school for four years to get their dental degree, and then spend another 4 to 6 years getting their extra surgery training – usually M.D. training or training with M.D.’s and only specifically focusing on surgeries in the jaw and facial area. Most oral surgeons can operate and fix things on people’s mouth, jaw and face. That’s where the name maxillofacial comes from, if you’ve ever been referred to an oral surgeon and looked at the name and went, “Maxillo…huh?”. It’s the specialty that deals only in the face, neck and jaw area and the diseases, injuries or defects pertaining to the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, jaw and face.
In dentistry, the main reason a dentist refers their patients to an oral surgeon is because the extraction is a bit too complicated for them to perform easily. Oral Surgeons have hours and hours of practice and techniques to pull out some of the most complicated of teeth. Depending on the dentist, they may also want the oral surgeon to perform an implant in the area of a lost tooth as well.
Now that we have some of the oral surgeon’s job demystified, let’s talk more about implants. An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in to the jaw. It sounds more awful than it is. Most patients who get an implant have reported that it’s easier than getting a crown. Some patients do opt to be “put under”. That is an option at a lot of oral surgeons’ offices and some dental offices as well. It all depends on the doctor and the patient and what they decide is best for them. It’s all about what works best for the patient for their optimum comfort.
We will talk more about implants and the implant procedure next week.