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Oral Surgery Procedures

Oral Surgery Procedures

Wisdom Teeth

Why Should Wisdom Teeth be Removed?

Wisdom Teeth Removal by your Oral Surgeon in Greensboro NC

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. This generally occurs between the ages of 17 and 25. Unfortunately, most people do not have adequate space and the third molars are not able to emerge. These teeth are considered impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be prevented from erupting by overlying gum tissue, bone or another tooth. This can be painful and lead to infection. In addition, these teeth can cause crowding and damage to adjacent teeth or roots. Not all problems related to third molars are painful or visible. Damage can occur without you being aware. Even wisdom teeth which have erupted into the mouth in a normal, upright position can be prone to disease, hygiene problems and complications.

When Should Wisdom Teeth be Removed?

It is not wise to wait until the wisdom teeth cause problems to have them removed. No one can predict when third molar difficulties will occur, but when they do, the circumstances can be much more painful and the teeth more difficult to treat. In general, earlier removal results in a less complicated and shorter healing process. It is strongly recommended that third molars be removed by the time the patient is a young adult in order to prevent future problems and ensure optimal healing.

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Dental Implants

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are small titanium posts which are surgically placed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. These titanium anchors act as substitutes for the tooth root. Acting like natural teeth, they safeguard and preserve the bone structure and facial appearance. After a healing time of three to four months the bone of the jaw bonds with the titanium post, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Implants can be used to replace an individual tooth, multiple teeth or to secure specialized dentures in place.

Why Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants?

Dental Implants placed by your Oral Surgeon in Greensboro NC

A missing tooth can affect a person’s bite, speech, appearance and eating choices. The remaining teeth, which now have to compensate for the missing ones, may wear out prematurely, or be damaged or lost. The natural consequence of missing teeth is deteriorating bone. Generally, people will lose 25% of their supporting bone structure within the first year after tooth loss. Dental implants are a great option because they are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel and function like natural teeth.

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Bone Grafting

What is Bone Grafting?

Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth slowly disappears or atrophies. This often leaves inadequate bone for the placement of dental implants or the proper fitting of a denture. To help correct or prevent this situation from occurring, a bone graft can be placed. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that replaces missing bone with a variety of different materials, depending on each patient’s situation. This material not only replaces missing bone but helps your body re-grow lost bone. This new bone growth strengthens the grafted area by forming a bridge between your existing bone and the graft. Over time the newly formed bone will replace much of the grafted material. When necessary, a membrane may be placed over the bone graft site. This membrane further encourages new bone to grow and also prevents scar tissue around the site. Generally, after three to four months, the bone graft is completely healed and a new denture can be made or dental implants can be placed.

Bone Grafting makes a stable foundation for Dental Implants by Oral Surgeon in Greensboro NC

Why is a Bone Graft Needed?

Bone grafts are needed when a part of your body is missing bone. The missing portion of bone is called a “bony defect”. Bone grafts are used to correct bony defects in the mouth such as: defects which occur following tooth extraction; a generalized decrease in quantity of jaw bone from trauma or long-term tooth loss; defects surrounding dental implants; defects in the wall of bone separating the sinus cavity and the mouth. When a maxillary sinus defect is corrected this procedure is called a sinus lift.

Having the ability to rebuild bone allows the opportunity to place dental implants that are the proper length and width and/or the proper fitting of dentures and bridges. Bone grafting can also restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.

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Impacted Teeth

What is an Impacted Tooth?

An impacted tooth simply means that it is “stuck” or “blocked” and cannot erupt into the dental arch. Since each tooth plays a functional role in a person’s bite, when a tooth that is not a wisdom tooth (see Wisdom Teeth) is impacted, every effort is made to help it erupt into the proper position within the mouth. This is usually a combined effort between the orthodontist and the Oral Surgeon.

How is an Impacted Tooth Aided in Eruption?

The orthodontist will create a space in the dental arch for the impacted tooth to emerge. Once there is adequate space, a simple surgical procedure will be performed by Dr. Owsley to remove the baby tooth, if still present, lift the gum tissue and remove any necessary bone or obstructions from around the impacted tooth. If necessary, to further aid in eruption, an orthodontic bracket is bonded to the newly exposed tooth. The bracket has a small gold chain attached that the orthodontist can then use to help guide the tooth into the proper position.

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Corrective Jaw Surgery/Orthognathic Surgery

What is Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery, also know as “Orthognathic” surgery, is used to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities. Jaw growth is usually a gradual process; however in some cases, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates, potentially causing a variety of difficulties. Orthognathic surgery is performed by Dr. Owsley to realign the jaws and teeth, and to improve such functions as chewing, speaking and breathing. While the patient’s appearance may be dramatically enhanced as a result of this type of surgery, corrective jaw surgery is performed to correct functional problems.

Corrective Jaw Surgery is offered by your Oral Surgeon in Greensboro NC

What is Involved in Corrective Jaw Surgery?

Your orthodontist and Dr. Owsley will work together to determine whether you are a candidate for corrective jaw surgery. Once you have been examined and consulted by both specialist, and you are fully informed about your treatment options, Dr. Owsley and your orthodontist will determine the course of treatment that is best for you. Before your surgery, the orthodontist will move your teeth into a new position with braces. Once the teeth are aligned, Dr. Owsley determines and performs the appropriate corrective jaw surgery procedure. The appropriate procedure may involve repositioning the upper jaw, the lower jaw or a combination of both. Corrective jaw surgery is typically an outpatient procedure completed either at the hospital or within our surgical suite. The procedure is completed under general anesthesia and patients can typically return home that same evening. Occasionally, an overnight stay in the hospital is necessary depending on factors such as the length of the procedure and the patient’s overall health. After surgery, Dr. Owsley will monitor your healing. Initial healing is approximately six to 8 weeks with complete healing taking nine to 12 months. Once Dr. Owsley determines your initial healing phase is complete you will return to your orthodontist to complete your orthodontic treatment. It is important to understand that your treatment, from the initial stage to the final stage, may take several years to complete.

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Oral Pathology

The inside of the mouth is lined with skin, called mucosa, which is smooth and pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. Your dentist may observe one of the following alterations and refer you to Dr. Owsley for evaluation:

  • Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth.
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
  • A lump or thickening on the mucosa lining the inside of the mouth.
  • A lesion on the lips, tongue, palate or gum tissue around the teeth.

Most of the time oral lesions turn out to be benign but seeing an Oral Surgeon for evaluation and, if necessary, a biopsy will help determine the proper diagnosis.

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