We only get thirty-two adult teeth, generally speaking. Most of us do our best to take care of them, but we all have lapsed. Some of us also inherited bad teeth from our parents, and it seems like we can brush and floss like champs and still end up with cavities. Then there are the dental issues that crop up suddenly and can’t really be foreseen. One way or another, there’s a decent chance that many of us will end up in an oral surgeon’s office.
Implants and bone grafts
Sometimes, the dental procedures seem to pile up on top of each other. If you get a root canal now, there’s a chance that the crown could fly off one random Wednesday afternoon five years from now while you’re trying to eat pork chops. If that happens, and the crown can’t be put back on, your dentist will probably recommend removing what’s left of the tooth below. You may very well need to see an oral surgeon to have that tooth removed, and you’ll probably need to do it quickly. Think of that bad tooth like a leak in your house: If it’s not taken care of, the problem can spread, and before too long, . An exposed, jagged tooth is more likely to get infected, and an infection in your mouth can be excruciating. You may even need to go on antibiotics if you can’t get the tooth extracted right away (oral surgeons are generally in pretty high demand).
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After the bad tooth is gone, you’ll have a few options. The best option is a dental implant surgically placed into the jawbone. It won’t come loose like a partial denture, and it won’t risk hurting your other teeth the way a dental bridge can (dental bridges have to be anchored to other teeth, which isn’t great for the teeth in question).
If you don’t have enough bone to support an implant, then it’s time for a bone graft. They aren’t as scary as they sound. Unfortunately, bone grafts and implants aren’t cheap, and it’s hard to find decent dental insurance in many cases. So while implants are best, many people have to make do with other options like partial dentures until they can come up with a few thousand dollars for an implant.
Accidents and facial trauma
If you watch sports, you’ve probably seen something like this: A hockey player going in for the easy score gets thrown off his path by a defenseman. Instead of a goal, he gets thrown into the boards face first, and one or more of his teeth fly out.
Hockey isn’t popular in every part of the country, but in places like Minnesota and Massachusetts, you’ll likely find many hockey players in an If a player takes a puck to the mouth, he’s probably going to need surgery for the resulting facial trauma. He may even need to be taken directly from the ice to surgery, which is why professional hockey teams generally have an oral surgeon on standby in the arena.
Oral surgeons deal with a lot more routine cases, too. Whether you’ve fallen down the stairs or taking a hockey stick to the face, you want an oral surgeon who is both professional and calm. It’s their job to get you back to normal with as little fuss as possible.