Chances are that your dentist has the training, education, and experience to deal with a wide variety of oral health conditions. But there are times when your dentist might refer you to an oral surgeon. That thought might be frightening for some patients, but most oral surgery procedures are completed on an outpatient basis and patients can usually return to their normal routine in just a few days. What follows are some situations that might require the services of an oral surgeon.
- Wisdom tooth removal: Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that erupt in the very back of a person’s mouth. If you have enough room to accommodate this third set of molars, you won’t have any problem with them. However, for patients who don’t have enough room in their mouths for wisdom teeth, the teeth can either not erupt fully or come in misaligned. These are called “impacted” wisdom teeth, and they typically need to be removed by an oral surgeon.
- Sleep apnea: Loud snoring can be troublesome for the snorer and other family members. But sleep apnea is much more serious than loud snoring. People who experience sleep apnea actually stop breathing for several seconds while they are sleeping. This is a serious condition that requires some form of treatment to alleviate it. One of those treatments is for an oral surgeon to remove excess soft tissue from the back of the patient’s throat, which clears the airway and decreases the sleep apnea symptoms.
- Dental implants: Implants are often an excellent choice to replace missing teeth or to provide anchors for dentures. An implant consists of a metal post that is inserted into the patient’s jawbone. After a few months, the post fuses to the bone tissue, and an artificial tooth is affixed to the top of the post. It is quite common for an oral surgeon to perform the implant procedure.
- Jaw surgery: An oral surgeon is sometimes called upon to perform jaw surgery, whether it is to correct a jaw alignment issue or to reconstruct the jaw.
If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, there’s no need to be overly concerned. Oral surgeons are trained medical professionals who typically have completed a four-year residency in all types of oral surgery. These professionals can provide you with exceptional care and can resolve issues that your dentist might not be able to. Fortunately, most of these procedures are quite common with relatively short recovery times.