Oral Surgery (cont.)
Dental implants are an option for tooth loss due to an accident or
infection or as an alternative to
dentures. The implants are tooth root substitutes that are surgically
anchored in place in the jawbone and act to stabilize 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.
Unequal jaw growth. In some individuals, the upper and lower jaw
fail to grow properly. This can cause difficulty in speaking, eating,
swallowing, and breathing. While some of these problems -- like improper teeth
alignment -- 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
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. 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.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. 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.
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