Oral surgeons are highly trained dental surgery practitioners who complete intensive 4 -6 year residency programs in their specialty area in addition to four years of dental school. Some oral surgeons even complete medical school and therefore possess a dual-degree. As a result, an oral surgeon is capable of treating a variety of conditions that are far beyond the scope of a general or family dental practice.
Many people have their initial experience with oral surgery when it is time to have their wisdom teeth removed, and indeed this is a procedure commonly performed by oral surgeons. Dr. Steven Koos, a dual-degree oral surgeon serving Chicago, can skillfully remove the wisdom teeth in both routine and complex cases, such as patients who have wisdom teeth that are severely impacted, within the sinus cavities and close to sensory nerves. He can also do this providing comfortable, relaxing sedation.
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can also perform reconstructive surgery to repair damage caused by trauma or disease. For example, an oral surgeon would be called upon to reconstruct an eye socket, repair a fractured nose and re-set a broken jaw to ensure proper healing. Reconstructive oral surgery also addresses congenital conditions such as cleft lip or cleft palate. If a patient has a suspicious mass in the mouth or jaw bone, an oral surgeon would be the doctor who would also remove tissue to be biopsied or remove the entire mass.
Additionally, an oral surgeon is the most capable dental specialist to replace a missing tooth (or teeth) by placing dental implants. The implants, which are small titanium screws, are surgically inserted into the jaw by an oral surgeon, and then the surrounding bone forms a bond with the implants.. The dental implant is topped with an artificial tooth cap or crown to complete the replacement of the tooth structure.
Oral surgery may also be performed to correct aesthetic abnormalities in the jaw, such as a prominent underbite or overbite or an excessively lengthy upper jaw bone. This type of procedure is referred to as orthognathic surgery and is a major facial surgical procedure. Oral surgeons often collaborate with orthodontists to plan orthognathic surgery in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.
Oral surgery may also be used in severe or advanced cases of TMJ disorders, when a patient has problems caused by the way the jaw joint fits together. When more conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms associated with TMJ disorders, such as facial pain, a surgical intervention may become necessary. Similarly, an oral surgeon can remove excess soft tissue in the rear of the mouth as a method for treating excessive snoring or sleep apnea.
If you have a need for any of the procedures described above, visit our oral surgery practice in Chicago to discuss your options and learn more about the procedures and the process.