Oral Surgeon

An oral surgeon (often referred to as maxillofacial surgeon) is trained in a highly specialized area of dentistry and medicine intended to treat major oral health problems, such as addressing and reconstructing defects and injuries of the jaw, neck, and face. Some of the most common procedures conducted by an oral surgeon include the extraction of wisdom teeth and the replacement of missing teeth using dental implants.

Oral SurgeonWhile any mention of the word “surgery” may make you think of hospitals and overnight stays, the majority of oral surgeries can actually be done on an outpatient basis in the oral surgeon’s professional office.

The Extensive Training of Oral Surgeons

As dental specialists, oral surgeons complete not only four years of dental school, they also spend four years in a hospital-based surgery residency program. This intensive training teaches oral surgeons alongside other medical residents, helping them master techniques in general surgery, anesthesiology, and emergency medicine.

An oral surgeon focuses on problems involving the soft and hard tissues of the mouth, jaws, and face and usually operate in a private office environment. If your dentist suspects that you have a jaw alignment problem, intense sleep apnea, or need a practiced hand to deal with your wisdom teeth extraction, you will be referred to an oral surgeon.

Benefits of Seeing an Oral Surgeon

While many dentists are capable of performing common types of oral surgery, such as simple extractions, patients are referred to oral surgeons for the treatment of serious and severe oral health conditions. Any complex procedure that requires deep levels of sedation or more invasive treatment will often find a patient visiting an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for the expertise and experience of the oral surgeon, their specialized level of care, and the option to undergo sedation dentistry.

Oral surgeons are uniquely positioned to treat patients in a variety of situations and are the only health care specialists, apart from anesthesiologists, who are able to administer all levels of sedation, up to general anesthesia.

Conditions Treated by an Oral Surgeon

Patients are referred to an oral surgeon for the treatment of the following conditions, among others:

  • Tooth extraction: From wisdom tooth removal to general tooth extraction, an oral surgeon is called upon to extract teeth that are in moderate to difficult positions.
  • Jaw misalignment: The repair of jaw misalignment is necessary when the concern is that the jaw position will lead to a facial appearance that is out of proportion. A misaligned jaw can also cause a person to have difficulty chewing, talking, and even opening and closing their mouth.
  • Missing teeth: The most secure and permanent solution for missing teeth is dental implants, which consists of an implant being surgically placed in the gum to replace the natural tooth root. The implant is then fitted with a prosthetic tooth to complete a formerly interrupted smile.
  • Unequal jaw growth: Not an uncommon issue, unequal jaw growth is when either the upper or lower jaw grows faster than its counterpart, causing a severe underbite or overbite. When this problem cannot be corrected with braces alone, surgery may be necessary.
  • TMJ disorder: Jaw joint problems and TMJ disorder can be corrected through oral and maxillofacial surgery in order to correct a jaw that locks and pops, eliminate teeth grinding, and minimize pain.
  • Facial infection: Depending on the type of facial infection being suffered, oral surgery may be required in order to drain the infection or remove teeth.
  • Sleep apnea: A serious and potentially life-threatening issue, serious sleep apnea is often treated by the surgical removal of soft tissues in order to correct the problem.
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate: Because a cleft lip or palate is a birth defect, the repair is typically completed in childhood and requires the practiced hand of a reconstructive surgeon.
  • Poor denture fit: When dentures fit poorly, it’s not always a matter of using more adhesive or getting a different pair of dentures from your dentist. Bone grafts are sometimes necessary in order to improve the fit of dentures, and this is done through oral surgery.
  • Broken jaw: A broken jaw and broken facial bones, whether caused by a car accident, sports injury, fall, fight, or otherwise, need to be repaired and meticulously realigned by an oral surgeon so that the bones heal properly and do not cause bigger oral health problems in the future.
  • Reconstruction of the face and jaw after cancer surgery: Complex facial reconstruction is the hallmark of an oral surgery practice. An oral surgeon is prepared to diagnose, remove, and test lesions when cancer is suspected. An oral surgeon also conducts any necessary reconstruction of the face and jaw after cancer surgery.

Your Oral Surgeon in Commerce, Michigan

Dr. William Thompson is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon as well as a medical doctor. As a doctor of dental surgery, Dr. Thompson is a board-certified member of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS). By focusing on oral surgery, the staff of iCare in Commerce, Michigan, is able to offer a distinct and high level of care for its unique patients.

When your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, you may have questions about what exactly an oral surgeon is and does. Your visit with Dr. Thompson will be informative, clear, and put your mind at ease about the oral surgery in your future. If you live in the Commerce Township, MI, area, you may find yourself at the practice of Dr. Thompson



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