You may associate oral surgery with the removal of impacted wisdom teeth, but it may also be needed for implants to replace lost teeth or to improve the fit of dentures. Oral surgery can even be used to treat conditions like sleep apnea. Christopher Banks, DMD of Banks Dental Group helps residents of the Auburn Gresham area of Chicago understand whether oral surgery is the right step for their dental health.
Oral surgery treats multiple dental diseases, injuries, or defects in your mouth and jaw. It includes tooth extraction, especially of wisdom teeth, as well as the placement of dental implants, and reconstruction of your teeth or jaw.
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars that usually come in between the ages of 17 and 21 years. They’re not essential to chewing or speech and can be hard to keep clean, so many people elect to have them removed.
Wisdom teeth are considered “impacted” when they don’t have enough room in the jaw to erupt or develop as they should. They often cause pain and can crowd or damage your existing teeth. Even if you have no symptoms associated with impaction, cleaning them can be challenging. That makes them vulnerable to infection, decay, and disease.
Removal of impacted wisdom teeth is an outpatient oral surgery procedure, so you can be home the same day. You either get local anesthesia or a mild general anesthetic; the type depends on the extent of the surgery required.
To remove the teeth, Dr. Banks makes an incision in your gums to remove any tissue or bone blocking the root of the tooth. He then extracts the tooth and stitches close the incision line. Dr. Banks also packs the area with gauze.
Wisdom teeth most commonly become impacted, but other teeth – including the cuspids and bicuspids – may also cause some of the same problems as wisdom teeth.
Your recovery depends on the procedure done. For an impacted wisdom tooth, for example, Dr. Banks prescribes pain medications and instructs you to use ice to help reduce swelling. For most people, swelling goes down in a few days.
Dr. Banks also gives you other detailed instructions following your surgery to ensure a speedy recovery and a return to normal functions. These instructions usually recommend following a soft diet, avoiding straws, and taking special care of the surgical site.
You can’t assume symptom-free impacted teeth are free from disease. Often, pain and decay occur later in adulthood when it’s harder and more complicated to remove wisdom teeth. Removal of wisdom teeth in adolescence or young adulthood offers a better chance of a healthy, pain-free mouth in the future.
You may be surprised to hear it, but oftentimes dentists are the first to diagnose sleep apnea in their patients. That’s because one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is teeth grinding, which a dentist can see clear evidence of when examining your teeth.
If you have more cavities than normal, your teeth are worn, or your gums are inflamed, these are all signs that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. If Dr. Banks finds you have sleep apnea, he may order Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, as a treatment. This is a machine the patient wears while asleep to create a positive airflow in and out of the body. That way, you can finally experience the relief you deserve from your sleep apnea.
At Banks Dental Group, we accept all insurance plans except Medicaid and private insurances. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office and ask for Annette if you do not see your insurance provider listed here.