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Oral Surgeon: When Do You Need One?

Dentists and Dental Procedures
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An oral surgeon is a dentist specialist who is trained to handle dental implants, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, facial pain, and restorative surgical procedures such as wisdom teeth removals. In addition to common dentistry services, an oral surgeon can also treat tooth and facial injuries, such as broken jaws, and broken or knocked-out teeth. Oral surgeons also treat oral cancers and can perform facial cosmetic surgeries. An oral surgeon attends four years of dental school and at least four years of hospital surgical residency.

Your general dentist will recommend a visit to an oral surgeon when you require service beyond the general dentist’s scope. Oral surgeons, also called maxillofacial surgeons, are trained to detect, diagnose, and prevent defects and diseases that affect the mouth, jaw, teeth, and gums. In emergency situations, or if you do not regularly see a general dentist, finding an oral surgeon may be a matter of who is available. Start by searching local listings and get on the phone. If it's after hours, or that fails, you can go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Extensive dental procedures and oral surgeries require anesthesia to assist in pain management before the site is treated. An oral surgeon has advanced training in anesthesia, so he or she can make your visit as painless and comfortable as possible. Dental anesthesia has been proven to be a safe and effective method for pain control during in-office visits. The oral surgeon can opt for local anesthesia for smaller repairs, or general anesthesia for more extensive repairs and surgeries. Oral surgeons generally prefer using lidocaine for its length of effectiveness over novocaine. If the surgeon administers general anesthesia it is recommended the patient have someone give them a ride home after the surgery.

Selecting an oral surgeon can be a painless experience. In most cases, your family dentist will recommend an oral surgeon that is nearby and accepts your dental insurance. Make sure you are comfortable with the surgeon and office before committing to an appointment. It is also a good idea to speak with your insurance carrier to make sure you understand the costs that you will incur for any extensive dental care or procedures you require.

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