Teeth Extraction

You may need to have a tooth extracted for a number of reasons such as decay, injury, or as part of orthodontic treatment. Whatever the reason, you will most likely be referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who will remove your tooth in the office using an anesthetic that is appropriate for your procedure.
Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. They come in between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the “Age of Wisdom.”

Wisdom teeth may not need to be extracted if they grow in completely and are functional, painless, cavity-free, disease-free and in a hygenic environment with healthy gum tissue. They do, however, require regular, professional cleaning, annual check-ups and periodic X-rays to monitor for any changes.

When a tooth doesn’t fully grow in, it’s “impacted”–usually unable to break through the gums because there isn’t enough room.

An impacted wisdom tooth can damage neighboring teeth or become infected. Because it’s in an area that’s hard to clean, it can also invite bacteria that lead to gum disease. Oral bacteria can also travel through your bloodstream and lead to infections and illnesses that affect your heart, kidneys and other organs. In some cases, a cyst or tumor can form around the base of the impacted tooth, which can lead to more serious problems as it hollows out the jaw and damages surrounding nerves, teeth and other parts of your mouth and face.

Generally, wisdom teeth should be surgically removed when there are:

  • Infections and/or periodontal (gum) disease
  • Cavities that can’t be restored
  • Cysts, tumors or other pathologies
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
Apicoectomy

While most root canals are successful, there are times when a root canal alone isn’t sufficient. If the infection from the dead nerve inside a tooth spreads beyond the tooth root and into the surrounding bone, your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for an apicoectomy. During an apicoectomy, the surgeon removes the infected portion of the tooth’s root in order to clean the infection from the tooth and surrounding bone and then fills the root to prevent future infections.

Exposing Impacted Teeth as Part of Orthodontic Treatment

It is not uncommon for teeth other than wisdom teeth to be impacted, or blocked from entering the mouth. Fortunately, your orthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon can bring the impacted tooth through the gum and into the correct position – giving you a beautiful healthy smile.

Frenectomy

Frena are small folds of tissue located in the mouth: under the tongue, inside the upper lip, inside the lower lip, and connecting the cheeks to the gums.

A frenectomy is a simple procedure performed in the oral and maxillofacial surgeon’s office to loosen the frenum’s connection and extend the range of motion in that part of the body.

Apicoectomy

If, even after a root canal, one or more of the tooth’s roots should become infected or there is significant bone loss around the tooth, your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for root end surgery, also known as apicoectomy. This is a surgical procedure whereby a tooth’s root tip is removed and a root end cavity is prepared and filled with a biocompatible material so that you can keep the tooth without having to remove it.

Other Soft-tissue Surgeries

Soft-tissue grafts
Soft-tissue grafts in the mouth can be important to maintaining oral health. Soft-tissue grafts are used to add more tissue in a certain area and may be used to:

  • Prevent further gum recession;
  • Cover an exposed root;
  • Stop sensitivity in the affected area; 
  • Improve the look of the tooth; and/or
  • Prevent problems in the future.

Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)
Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are occasionally used for a short time during orthodontic treatment. TADs are small titanium screws that orthodontists use to help reposition teeth. TADs are usually placed by the oral and maxillofacial surgeon in their office. When the TADs are no longer needed, they are removed and the site is usually fully healed in a couple of days.

Gingivectomy and Gingivoplasty
Gingivitis, an inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth, is caused by bacteria that, if left unchecked, may lead to periodontitis.  A gingivectomy surgically removes diseased or excess gum tissue and the bacteria that can cause periodontitis. 

Gingivoplasty, which is the surgical reshaping of the gum tissue, is often performed in combination with a gingivectomy for cosmetic or functional purposes.  

Crown Lengthening Procedures
Before placing a crown on a tooth that has been weakened by decay, is cracked or broken, or severely worn down, your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a crown lengthening procedure to ensure that enough of the tooth’s structure is available to securely hold a crown.

Dental Implant Surgery

Learn More About Dr. Harris!

Dental Implants have an overall success rate of about

95%

More and more people are getting dental implants to replace missing teeth. They’re a long-term solution that is imbedded in your jawbone, just like your natural teeth. Plus, unlike fixed bridges or removable dentures, dental implants will not affect neighboring healthy teeth or lead to bone loss in the jaw. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.
Dental implant surgery is, of course, surgery, and is best done by a trained surgeon. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) has the specialized education and training in the complexities of the bone, skin, muscles and nerves involved, to ensure you get the best possible results. A 2014 study suggests greater implant success rates when performed by a dental specialist.​

Cosmetic Facial Procedures

Thanks to their surgical and dental background, oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMSs) are uniquely qualified to perform cosmetic procedures involving the functional and aesthetic aspects of the face, mouth, teeth and jaws. Extensive education and training in surgical procedures involving skin, muscle, bone and cartilage finely attune the oral and maxillofacial surgeon to the need for harmony between facial appearance and function.
With the development of advanced medical devices and biomaterials, many facial cosmetic procedures are minimally invasive and can be performed in an office setting using local and/or intravenous anesthesia. Some procedures may require use of an outpatient or same day surgery center or hospital.
Botox

From excessive sweating to migraine headaches, Botox injections can offer relief from a variety of medical conditions. Contact us today to find out more! (270) 408-1960

Facial Fillers

From filling in small wrinkles to repairing scar damage and even helping you “look young again,” facial fillers can help to accomplish these goals. Contact us today to find out more! (270) 408-1960

Facial Trauma Surgery

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMSs) are experts in treating and repairing facial injury and trauma, including fractures of the upper and lower jaws and the orbits surrounding the eyes, and facial lacerations. Their knowledge of how jaws come together (dental occlusion) is critical when repairing complex facial fractures. 
The American College of Surgeons’ guidelines for optimal care in Level I and II trauma centers, the centers that treat the most serious and complex facial trauma patients, recommend that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon be included as a member of the centers’ trauma team.
Many of the techniques that are standard in today’s hospital emergency rooms were developed by OMSs in combat hospitals during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and today’s international conflicts.
If you or a loved one suffer a facial or mouth injury that requires a trip to the emergency room, be sure to ask that an OMS is called for consultation. With their background and training, OMSs are the specialists most qualified to deal with these types of injuries. In some cases, they may detect a “hidden” injury that might otherwise go unnoticed.
Facial Injury Facts Facial First Aid Card

Corrective Jaw Surgery

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Corrective jaw surgery – also called orthognathic surgery – is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Surgery can improve chewing, speaking and breathing. While the patient’s appearance may be dramatically enhanced as a result of the surgery, orthognathic surgery is performed to correct functional problems.
Your dentist, orthodontist and OMS will work together to determine whether you are a candidate for orthognathic surgery. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon determines which corrective jaw surgical procedure is appropriate and performs the actual surgery. It is important to understand that your treatment, which will probably include orthodontics before and after surgery, may take several years to complete. Your OMS and orthodontist understand this is a long-term commitment for you and your family, and they will try to realistically estimate the time required for your treatment.

Following are some of the conditions that may indicate the need for corrective jaw surgery:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting food
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic jaw or jaw joint (TMJ) pain and headaches
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Open bite (space between the upper and lower teeth when the mouth is closed)
  • Unbalanced facial appearance from the front or side
  • Receding lower jaw and chin or Protruding jaw
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleep apnea (breathing problems when sleeping, including snoring)

TMJ Treatments

The TMJ is the most constantly used joint in the body.

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. It permits the lower jaw to move and function.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders are not uncommon. Individuals with a TMJ disorder may experience a variety of symptoms, such as earaches, headaches and limited ability to open their mouth.
When symptoms of TMJ trouble appear, consult an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS). A specialist in the areas of the mouth, teeth and jaws, your OMS is in a good position to correctly diagnose the problem. Diagnosing TMJ disorders can be complex and may require different diagnostic procedures. Special imaging studies of the joints may be ordered and appropriate referral to other dental or medical specialists or a physical therapist may be made.

Treatment

Treatment may range from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may include short-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and muscle relaxation, bite plate or splint therapy, and even stress management counseling. If non-surgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is clear joint damage, surgery may be indicated. Surgery can involve either arthroscopy (the method identical to the orthopaedic procedures used to inspect and treat larger joints such as the knee) or repair of damaged tissue by a direct surgical approach.
Once TMJ disorders are correctly diagnosed, your OMS can provide appropriate treatment to relieve the problem.

Anesthesia Pain Management

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (OMSs) are trained in all aspects of anesthesia administration. Following dental school, they complete at least four years of training in a hospital-based surgical residency program alongside medical residents in general surgery, anesthesia and other specialties. During this time, OMS residents serve on the medical anesthesiology service, where they evaluate patients for anesthesia, deliver the anesthetic and monitor post-anesthetic patients.

Extensive Training and Experience

As a result of their extensive training, every Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is well-prepared to appropriately administer local anesthesia, all forms of sedation and general anesthesia. They are experienced in airway management, endotracheal intubation, establishing and maintaining intravenous lines, and managing complications and emergencies that may arise during the administration of anesthesia.
Before your surgery, your OMS will review the type of anesthetic to be used, as well as the way you’re likely to feel during and after the operation. This is the time to discuss any concerns you may have about any facet of the operation. Usually, patients describe their feelings during surgery as comfortable and surprisingly pleasant. After surgery, you may be prescribed a medication to make you as comfortable as possible when you get home.

MAXILLOFACIAL PATHOLOGY & SKIN CANCER

 

Don’t risk it. Perform
an oral cancer self-exam
each month.

The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that close to 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. Oral cancer’s mortality is particularly high, not because it is hard to detect or diagnose, but because the cancer is often discovered late in its development. Your family dentist or OMS is in the best position to detect oral cancer during your routine dental examinations. 

Perform a Self-Exam Monthly

Everyone should perform an oral cancer self-exam each month. An oral examination is performed using a bright light and a mirror:
  • Remove any dentures
  • Look and feel inside the lips and the front of gums
  • Tilt head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  • Pull the cheek out to see its inside surface as well as the back of the gums
  • Pull out your tongue and look at all of its surfaces
  • Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) in both sides of the neck including under the lower jaw
Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. Don’t ignore any suspicious lumps or sores. Should you discover something, make an appointment for a prompt examination. Early treatment may well be the key to complete recovery