If you are not happy with the appearance of your smile, your oral
and maxillofacial specialist can suggest a number of options to correct
the aesthetics of your teeth, gums and bone structure. From replacing
lost or recessed gums and teeth, to reshaping the bone structure that
supports your teeth, your specialist can help you achieve and maintain
a smile you will be happy with for a lifetime.
Do you wish that you could replace one or more of your teeth but don't
want to get dentures?
Dental Implants are a natural looking, long lasting, comfortable,
and safe alternative to bridgework or dentures. For people with good
oral health, replacing a lost tooth with an implant is an ideal option.
Not everyone is a candidate for implants. Your doctor will inform
you about the different factors that determine whether or not a patient
fits the criteria of an implant recipient. Factors like pre-existing
disease and bone loss can affect a patient's ability to receive implants.
However, it is now possible to regenerate bone in some patients through
the use of grafting techniques.
A Maxillofacial surgeon can replace or augment bone in areas of the
jaw with less than sufficient mass to support a dental implant. Through
Guided Tissue Bone Regeneration (GTR) or grafting, your doctor can
grow bone in areas that have become atrophied due to disease or tooth
loss. When a healthy tooth is in its socket, the presence of the root
of the tooth stimulates the bone it resides in, keeping it strong
and healthy. When a tooth is lost due to either trauma or disease
the bone surrounding it weakens and degenerates. This is a problem,
especially for those seeking dental implants to replace the missing
tooth; as implants need a healthy jaw to be placed in. Ask your doctor
about the exciting developments in this technology, it may be the
answer to your needs.
The "Temporomandibular Joint," more commonly referred to as the "jaw
joint," assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the
jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain.
Although conventional wisdom suggests that a "popping" sound in the
jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times,
your jaw is functioning properly even if a "popping" sound is present
when chewing or talking.
We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the "hinge"
of the jaw. Problems include swelling; deterioration of the
joint tissue; or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones
during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Arthritis
can contribute to TMJ dysfunction. Another possibility is displacement
or dislocation of the disc between the socket and jawbone. A disc
in the wrong position may limit jaw movement, produce clicking sounds,
or cause pain when opening or closing the mouth. Also conditions like
injury or rheumatoid arthritis can cause parts of the TMJ to fuse
together, preventing any jaw movement at all. Stress can be a huge
factor in causing or adding to TMJ symptoms. Nighttime teeth grinding
can cause muscle spasms and inflammation of muscle tissue, causing
difficult and often painful jaw movement.
Diagnosing TMJ dysfunction can be a complex process, and may require
different diagnostic procedures.
Why consult an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for my TMJ treatment?
A specialist in the areas of the mouth, teeth and bones of the jaws,
an oral and maxillofacial surgeon has the training and expertise to
correctly diagnose your condition. Special imaging studies of the
joints (digital radiography, arthography, or MR imaging) may be ordered
and appropriate referral to other dental or medical specialists or
a physical therapist may be made.
One of the most common reasons people come to an OMS is because of
problems related to their third molars, more commonly called Wisdom
Teeth. Usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties, third
molars often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even
at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth
lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place
of your jaw, and becomes impacted, problems can arise. Primarily,
damage to adjacent teeth and crowding occur.
In certain cases the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes
inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop
around the root of the tooth that then fills with liquid. This can
cause a cyst, or an abscess if it becomes infected. If either of these
situations goes untreated, serious damage to the underlying bone and
surrounding teeth and tissues can result.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
If you have been recommended to have corrective jaw surgery, you are
not alone! Modern advances in medicine allow patients to perfect conditions
caused by heredity, trauma or growth impediments.
Abnormalities involving the upper face, cheekbones and nose can also
be surgically perfected. Bone structure is adapted to create correct
facial symmetry and proportion; this also often restores normal breathing,
eating and speaking capabilities.
When you look in the mirror, do you see a protruding or receding lower
jaw? Do you have buckteeth? Do your teeth connect in the proper way?
If you have any reason to think your jaws might not be correctly formed
or positioned, ask your oral and maxillofacial surgeon for an evaluation
In addition to their many other capacities, your OMS may elect to
check for cancers of the mouth and surrounding jawbone.
If your OMS recommends a biopsy as a result
of a cancer screening, we strongly urge you to follow up with any
tests or instructions given to you by your doctor. While cancer can
be a scary thought, early testing and diagnosis can significantly
improve your chances of making a fast and complete recovery. Don't
let fear of this disease compromise your chances of having a beautiful
smile and a healthy future!
Ask your doctor about the details of your specific situation and your
heath care options following your biopsy.