A number of conditions may require oral surgery, such as impacted wisdom teeth and jaw-related problems.
The term oral surgery is used to describe the use of surgical techniques to treat diseases, injuries and defects in the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. A number of conditions may require dental surgery – the most common is probably impacted teeth, a problem that is frequently associated with developing wisdom teeth. If the jaw is large enough, these teeth emerge from the gum line normally, but in some cases a tooth may fail to emerge in proper alignment or fail to fully emerge through the gum line and become entrapped or ‘impacted’ between the jawbone and the gum tissue.
Impacted wisdom teeth can result in swelling, pain, and infection of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. In addition, impacted wisdom teeth can cause permanent damage to nearby teeth, gums, and bone, and sometimes lead to the formation of cysts or tumours that can destroy sections of the jaw. Therefore, dentists often recommend people with impacted wisdom teeth have them surgically removed.
A series of jaw-related problems are also treated by oral surgery. In some individuals, the upper and lower jaws fail to grow properly, which can cause difficulty in speaking, eating, swallowing, and breathing. While some of these issues can be corrected with braces and other orthodontic appliances, 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.
For first-time denture wearers, oral surgery can be performed to correct any irregularities of the jaws prior to creating the dentures, thus ensuring a better fit. Oral surgery can also help long-term denture wearers. Supporting bone often deteriorates over time, resulting in dentures that no longer fit properly. In severe cases, an oral surgeon can add a bone graft to areas where little bone remains.