Root Canal vs. Tooth Extraction

A root canal can help to save a severely damaged tooth by removing the pulp material so that it cannot become infected or to eliminate an active infection. However, for a number of reasons, root canals may not be feasible in all cases. When a root canal is not appropriate, the patient likely will need to undergo a tooth extraction on the damaged tooth. Although it’s preferable to keep a biological tooth whenever possible, when tooth extraction is unavoidable, it’s important for patients to begin thinking about a replacement tooth as soon as possible. Delaying this aspect of treatment may limit your options in terms of interventions. Patients who desire a structurally complete replacement tooth should consult with an oral surgeon about dental implants. These devices are small titanium cylinders that are biocompatible. That is, the bone material in the jaw is capable of forming a permanent bond with the…


What happens if a cuspid tooth becomes impacted?

While impacted wisdom teeth have little, if any, effect on your smile’s appearance when they’re removed, patients with impacted cuspids (also known as the canine teeth or eyeteeth) will have smiles that suffer if those teeth are just extracted. Fortunately, impacted cuspids can be uncovered and moved to emerge when an oral surgeon and an orthodontist collaborate on the treatment. The maxillary (upper) cuspids actually are the second most likely teeth to become impacted after the wisdom teeth, so a number of patients may face this problem. In order to address the issue of impacted cuspids, the oral surgeon will expose the tooth by removing gum and bone tissue that are covering it. The surgeon may need to put a dressing on top of the tooth in some cases. If that is necessary, the dressing will be removed after 10-14 days. Alternatively, the surgeon may attach a bracket to the…


Wisdom Teeth Removal: Preserve Your Investment in Orthodontic Treatment

If you spent years in braces in order to get a perfectly straight smile, you may want to consider having your third molars (more commonly known as the wisdom teeth) removed so that it will stay that way. Impacted wisdom teeth will continue to try to emerge, even though most human jaws do not have the space necessary for them to slide into the correct positions. In doing so, these large third molars can push the other teeth out of alignment, rendering years of orthodontic treatment useless. To protect their investment in earlier orthodontic treatment, many patients will consult with an oral surgeon to have their wisdom teeth removed before any misalignment develops. Impacted teeth often must be extracted in a surgical procedure because they are at least partially covered by bone material that must be removed before the tooth can be.  Keeping your teeth properly aligned is one of…


April is “Facial Protection Month.”

facial trauma firstaid
Click on the image above to print.

In cooperation with the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), we want to promote awareness in dealing with emergency facial trauma with these pocket sized, printable, first aid cards.

From the AAOMS:

“AAOMS wants to give you a leg up on head, neck and face injuries.

Prevention is the best policy, but accidents do happen. Knowing what to do in the moments immediately after an injury to the head, neck or face can make all the difference in the healing process. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons offers this handy, tip-filled, wallet-sized first aid card to help you take the right steps at an unfortunate time.”

Do all patients need to have their wisdom teeth extracted?

Your wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the largest in your mouth. Unfortunately, many patients’ jaws are not wide enough to accommodate these sizable teeth, which can cause them to fail to erupt properly. Wisdom tooth extraction is typically recommended when the wisdom teeth are impacted. Some patients may not need a wisdom tooth extraction, however, if the third molars are not impacted. If they are able to emerge properly without incident, the patient may be able to keep those teeth. Nonetheless, a significant number of people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed as a preventive measure. You should be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine what interventions, if any, are most appropriate in your case. You should also make sure that you understand the risks and benefits of the surgical procedure before making a decision on how to proceed. The oral surgeon can examine…


Will a Temporary Orthodontic Anchorage Device Benefit Me?

Some patients who long for straighter smiles may face some obstacles to traditional orthodontic treatment. For example, if a tooth that needs to be moved is adjacent to a large gap, there may be no surface to which the next bracket can be attached so that forces can be properly applied to the targeted tooth. A Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD) can help patients overcome such treatment challenges. TADs are tiny surgical screws that an oral surgeon places in designated locations in the jaw. The TAD is made of titanium, so the bone can fuse with it and it will stay in place for the duration of treatment. If an extra anchor is needed for the orthodontic appliances in your case, a TAD may be beneficial. TADs also can be helpful when it’s necessary to correct the bite in addition to the alignment of the teeth. The orthodontist and oral surgeon…


I’m considering dental implants: What questions should I ask my oral surgeon?

An increasing number of patients are weighing dental implants as a possible treatment for tooth loss. As is the case with any dental treatment, especially one that requires oral surgery, it’s important for patients to be well-informed when making this decision. As part of the treatment planning process, you will have an initial consultation with an oral surgeon. That first appointment gives you an opportunity to ask a variety of questions that can help you determine whether dental implants will be the right option for you. Here is a list of some questions to ask the oral surgeon about this intervention: Am I a good candidate for dental implants? Dental implants can last for decades under the right circumstances. Check to see if the conditions are right for dental implants to be a long-lasting solution for you. What are the benefits of dental implants? Dental implants have a number of advantages…


3D Imaging Technology Can Enhance Patient Care

Diagnostic images have been incredibly important in the history of modern medicine. From the invention of the X-ray to the MRI, millions of people have benefitted from diagnostic imaging because it allows physicians a look at the health of structures that are not outwardly visible. When it comes to oral and maxillofacial surgery, diagnostic images are essential to the diagnosis and treatment of a number of conditions. Using the latest technology available, our oral surgeons are proud to offer 3D imaging. 3D Imaging and Oral Healthcare Traditional X-rays only provide a two dimensional view of a patient’s teeth or craniofacial region. Two-dimensional images provide a limited view of structures beneath the skin and soft oral tissues. Three-dimensional images, on the other hand, offer a more comprehensive look at a particular area. With detailed imaging, treatment planning is much more accurate and precise. Three-dimensional imaging technology has many applications in oral…


Steps to Prevent Facial Injuries

Facial injuries can wreak havoc on a patient’s oral health and function. These types of injuries can also devastate self-esteem. The most common causes of facial injuries and traumas include car accidents, sports accidents, and work-related injuries. Fortunately, our oral surgeons provide excellent care to those afflicted with facial injuries and offer custom treatment plans that restore oral function and appearance as best as possible. The Extent of Facial Trauma Injuries that affect the mouth and face can have far-reaching effects. Patients may lose teeth, fracture facial bones, or develop soft tissue and nerve damage. Depending on the nature and cause of the injury, treatment options for repairing injuries to the face and mouth can vary. Certain types of injuries may require jaw surgery, wound treatment, and bone stabilization. In some cases, our oral surgeons will work with other medical professionals including your family dentist or an orthodontist. When treating…


I’m Postponing Dental Treatment Because It’s Not Bothering Me

Sometimes patients are tempted to put off a visit to the dentist because they’re not experiencing any discomfort or any other problematic symptoms. Unfortunately, this course of action actually increases the likelihood that the patient will develop dental pain and need a more radical intervention like a tooth extraction. When a patient sees a dentist twice a year, as is recommended, the dentist has more opportunity to detect potential problems in their earliest stages before they cause significant damage to the tooth or other oral structures. Additionally, periodic cleanings can help to lower the patient’s risk of developing a problem because that activity helps to limit the presence of harmful oral bacteria. Postponing treatment of a condition like tooth decay or gum disease can lead to serious consequences, as well. Waiting to address a cavity, for example, the decay may progress to the extent that the only possibly treatment is…