The concept, oral surgery is a wide one with lots of scopes. Oral surgery specializes in treating many diseases, injuries and defects in different parts of the body including the head, neck, face, jaws, then the hard and soft tissues of the oral (mouth) and maxillofacial region. Oral surgery is an internationally recognized surgical specialty.
In many countries, however, oral surgery is a dental specialty which focuses on the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects related to the functional and aesthetic aspects of the face.
Oral surgery is a medical specialty requiring both medical and dental degrees culminating in an appropriate qualification.
Conditions that Require Oral Surgery
Now there are certain conditions which require oral surgery, and they include:
1. Impacted teeth:
Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop. More often, one or more of these wisdom teeth fail to erupt in proper alignment or fails to rupture through the gum line fully and becomes enclosed or “impacted” between the jawbone and the gum tissue. Other teeth can also be impacted so what an oral surgeon can do is to remove the impacted and damaged teeth.
2. Facial injury repair:
Fractured jaws and broken facial bones can be repaired through oral surgery. So you do not need to worry about those broken noses, oral surgery can get it right.
3. Cleft lip and Cleft palate repair:
Cleft lip and cleft palate occur when all or portions of the mouth and nasal cavity do not grow together properly during foetal development. The result is an opening in the roof of the mouth. This can, however, be corrected through oral surgery. Oral surgeons work as part of a team of healthcare specialists for a successful surgery and correction.
4. Sleep apnea:
If the dentist suspects that a patient has a sleep disorder, the patient will likely be referred to a sleep clinic for polysomnography, an overnight clinic test that monitors his or her sleep patterns. The patient will then be referred to an oral surgeon if the cause of the sleep disorder is sleep apnea which needs immediate surgery. Surgical procedures involve removing the soft tissues of the oropharynx or the lower jaw.
5. Unequal jaw:
This happens when the upper and lower jaws fail to grow properly, and it happens to some persons. This can cause difficulty when speaking, eating, swallowing and breathing. Some of these problems like improper teeth alignment can be corrected with braces and other orthodontic appliances. More serious issues require oral surgery to move all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both into a new position which is more balanced, functional and healthy.
Specific factors must be considered when choosing an oral surgeon to avoid complications. These factors include:
1. Years of practice:
A patient wants to select and be referred to an oral surgeon who has built a successful practice through years of experience. The more oral surgery an oral surgeon has performed, the more experience and expertise he can offer.
2. An excellent oral surgeon must have taken continuing education courses to keep him up-to-date on the latest procedures and technological advances in the field.