We endeavour to retain teeth where possible, but extractions are needed when teeth are badly broken down, for orthodontic reasons or to help with the overall treatment plan, which may include dentures or implants.
Most routine extractions can be done very effectively in the practice with local anaesthesia. For more complex extractions or for patients who are anxious, referral to a specialist for treatment under general anaesthesia may be needed.
Your wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop and often do not emerge in alignment with your other teeth or fail to fully grow through the gum line and become impacted between the jawbone and the gum tissue. Impacted wisdom teeth should be surgically removed as they can result in swelling, pain and infection of the gum tissue. Also decay can occur in adjacent teeth due to difficulty with cleaning next to impacted wisdom teeth.
It is not just wisdom teeth that sometimes become impacted and need to be removed. Other teeth, such as the cuspids and the bicuspids can become impacted and can cause the same types of problems as impacted wisdom teeth.
In the event of losing a tooth or multiple teeth due to an accident or infection, dental implants are an option as an alternative to bridges and dentures. The implants are tooth root substitutes that are surgically anchored in place in the jawbone and act to stabilise the artificial teeth to which they are attached. Suitable candidates for dental implants need to have an adequate bone level and density, must not be prone to infection and must be willing to maintain good oral hygiene practices.
Oral surgery can be performed to correct jaw-related problems, including:
- Unequal jaw growth
In some individuals, the upper and lower jaws fail to grow properly. This can cause difficulty in speaking, eating, swallowing and breathing. While some of these problems, such as improper teeth alignment, can be corrected with braces and other orthodontic treatments, more serious problems require oral surgery to move all or part of the upper jaw, lower jaw, or both, into a new position that is more balanced, functional and healthy.
- Improve fit of dentures
For first-time denture wearers, oral surgery can be done to correct any irregularities of the jaws prior to creating the dentures to ensure a better fit. Oral surgery can also help long-term denture wearers as supporting bone often deteriorates over time, resulting in dentures that no longer fit properly.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD)
Dysfunction of the TMJ, the small joint in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet, is a common source of headache and facial pain. Most patients with TMJ disorders can be successfully treated with a combination of oral medications, physical therapy and splints. However, joint surgery is an option for advanced cases and when the diagnosis indicates a specific problem in the joint.
Several different surgical procedures can be used to treat snoring and sleep apnea, including surgery:
- to open the breathing passages in the nose
- to remove the tonsils
- occasionally to remove some of the excess tissue at the back of the throat
- to reduce the tongue size
- to bring the upper or lower jaw forward
- to pull the tongue muscles forward