h-smile5Frequently Asked Questions about Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

What is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a dental specialist who focuses on the diagnosis, surgical and treatment of diseases, abnormalities and injuries in the teeth and jaws. After graduating from dental school, they have an additional four to seven years of hospital-based surgical and medical training, which enables them to perform a wide range of procedures including all types of surgery of both the bones and soft tissues of the face, mouth and neck.

Do I have to have a referral to see an oral surgeon?

Generally, patients do have to have a referral from their dentist or orthodontist in order to see an oral surgeon.

What should I expect during my first visit?

During your initial visit, you will have a comprehensive examination and consultation to develop a personalized treatment plan specifically for you. A visual exam will be performed along with any necessary X-rays that will be taken.

Once a treatment plan has been decided upon, we will discuss financial arrangements with you and schedule a surgery date. Please assist us by bringing a surgical referral form from your general dentist or orthodontist, a complete list of medications you are taking or are allergic to, the most recent radiographs taken and your medical and dental insurance cards.

Are payment plans available for my dental treatment?

Yes. We accept many types of dental insurance and will process your claim for you upon receipt of your co-payment. We offer a low interest rate payment plan and also accept most major credit cards.

Will I have to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. It is in cases where there isn’t enough space for the wisdom teeth to erupt causing impaction and crowding of the other teeth. In these instances, it is more beneficial for patients to have them removed to avoid severe dental crowding or infections of the gums.

What if I have an emergency?

Please call our office as soon as you determine that you have a dental emergency. We will be glad to work you in to our schedule if you have a dental emergency during regular business hours. After hours, over the weekend and during holidays, please call our office for the doctor’s emergency contact number.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Implants

What is a dental implant?

Dental implants are artificial tooth replacements. A metal post is surgically implanted into the patient’s jawbone, and a prosthetic tooth is attached to this post.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

Dental implants are a more permanent way of replacing teeth. Dentures, on the other hand, can slide around in the mouth and be uncomfortable. On occasion, you may also forget your dentures. Dental implants are permanent, so you will never forget them! Also, dental implants are designed to look, feel and function like your natural teeth.

Who is qualified to place my dental implants?

An implantologist, a periodontist or an oral surgeon can place implants for you. After the implant is in place, a restorative dentist can affix your prosthetic tooth to your implant.

Will getting my dental implants be painful?

No, the procedure is not painful because you will be under local anesthesia. After the procedure, the implant site will be sore, but you will receive post-operations instructions to help alleviate the discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions about Periodontics

What is a periodontist? Do I need to see one?

A periodontist specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of periodontal disease, as well as dental implant placement. All periodontists are general dentists, but they receive additional training of up to three years after dental school to obtain the necessary education to perform procedures in periodontics. Your general dentist may refer you to a periodontist if you exhibit the symptoms of gum disease; however, you may schedule an appointment on your own if you have concerns about your oral health.

What is periodontal disease, and am I at risk of developing it?

The term “periodontal” simply means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease affects the gums and bones supporting the teeth. Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is mainly attributed to the bacteria in dental plaque, which causes the gums to become inflamed and infected. Other factors, such as smoking or tobacco use, poor nutrition, stress or pregnancy, may put you at risk of developing gum disease.

Is periodontal disease contagious?

Although it is not an airborne disease, research has indicated that the bacteria that cause gum disease can be passed through saliva. Therefore, families and couples who may be in close contact with a person with gum disease are also at risk. We recommend being screened for periodontal disease regularly if you are potentially at risk.

My gums bleed when I brush my teeth. Is this normal?

Healthy gums should not bleed when you brush your teeth. This is one of the early signs of gum disease. You should schedule an appointment with your periodontist for a complete periodontal screening.

Are there any ways to prevent periodontal disease?

A good oral hygiene regimen is imperative in preventing periodontal disease. Proper brushing and flossing, in conjunction with regular dental visits for professional cleanings twice a year, will help keep your smile healthy for life.

Are dental implants the best restoration option?

Your periodontist can determine if dental implants are your best restoration option for your individual case. Dental implants have a natural look and feel and can help prevent shifting of surrounding teeth. Implants are often preferred to bridges and dentures because they are more secure and can help prevent bone loss. Also, adjacent teeth are not affected by the placement of implants.

If I have periodontal disease, do I need surgery? What are my options?

Whether you need surgery or not will depend on how advanced your periodontal disease is. There are non-surgical treatments, such as root scaling and planing available, for those with mild gum disease. If you are in the advanced stages of gum disease, you may benefit from having surgery. With the latest technology and advanced techniques available today, many surgical procedures can be performed in an office setting with little discomfort.

What is maintenance therapy?

Maintenance therapy is used to help prevent further infection from occurring in patients who have already received periodontal treatment. Your periodontist will tailor a program to fit your needs, which will include periodontal checkups, plaque and tartar removal and sometimes polishing your teeth or checking your bite. The frequency of visits varies from case to case, from every few weeks to four times per year.

I have a “gummy” smile. What can be done to correct this?

A procedure called crown lengthening can correct “gummy” smiles. “Gummy” smiles make teeth appear too short. With crown lengthening, the gums and supporting tissues are reshaped to expose more of the tooth.

My gums are receding and my teeth appear “long.” Can this be fixed?

If left untreated, gum recession can lead to tooth loss. Soft tissue grafts can fix this condition and also prevent further recession or bone loss. In the procedure, gum tissue is taken from your palate or another donor source. This tissue is then placed over the exposed roots, which helps to even out the gum line and reduce sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.