There are some signs you may need oral surgery that are painfully obvious. For instance, if you are experiencing pain in the gums, teeth, or jaw so bad it is keeping you up at night or preventing you from eating, it is certainly time for a visit to your dentist. If you’re seeing much higher than normal levels of bleeding from the gums or you’ve recently and visibly damaged your teeth, you’ll want to schedule a consultation.
However, not all oral health concerns come with obvious symptoms. It’s important to find out if it’s the right time to schedule an oral health consultation with your preferred dental professional. Scheduling routine appointments with your dental care professional can help to uncover potential issues before they become emergencies. If you’re in between scheduled visits, keep the following 8 signs in mind – they may indicate a need for oral surgery.
This obvious issue is quite concerning if left untreated, but it becomes less of an issue when you’re in the hands of a skilled oral surgeon. A dentist will take a look at the underlying bone density and amount of bone present, then determine if you are a viable candidate for a dental implant, bridge, or dentures. As long as the bone is healthy and dense enough, you don’t have an infection, and you’re committed to good oral health practices, you may be a candidate for one or more surgical options.
Some of the signs that you may need to have your wisdom teeth extracted are persistent pain, swelling, fever, or signs of infection near the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth often only erupt partially, which means the local area is more likely to become infected or decayed with time. If you feel like there is an inordinate amount of pressure or pain in the back of your mouth where the wisdom teeth would be, contact your dentist immediately. Teenagers and those in their early 20s are most likely to need oral surgery for their wisdom teeth.
Sleep apnea and related sleep disorders are becoming increasingly common these days, and the health concerns related to these disorders are truly dangerous. Most patients will attempt to manage their sleep apnea issues by using a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) device or dental appliance, but these solutions aren’t always effective at curing the condition. If you or your partner indicates your nighttime snoring is becoming intrusive, that you’re not breathing well at night, or if you already have a sleep disorder diagnosis from your doctor, you may have to consider oral surgery procedures that can help cure sleep apnea. Your oral surgeon might consider laser surgery or a procedure that removes some of the soft tissue from the oropharynx or lower jaw.
While occasional pain or swelling in the neck, jaws, or face can happen, if it is persistent or the pain becomes intolerable, you’ll want to schedule a visit with your oral health professional. This type of pain may indicate an infection – one that can morph into a life-threatening issue if not addressed right away. Your oral surgeon will help in diagnosing the issue, and treatment may be rendered that could involve cutting into any affected areas and draining the infection, or even removing teeth.
Jaw Pain or Misalignment
If you can visibly tell that your jaws are misaligned – possibly your overbite or underbite is getting worse or your teeth are in misalignment, you should visit your dentist immediately. Some jaw issues are correctable with orthodontic appliances like braces, while others require oral surgery. Some or all of the upper jaw may have to be relocated to facilitate correct alignment and to balance the mouth’s movements. This isn’t something to take lightly – so schedule an appointment with your dentist soon, even if you only feel a slight misalignment in your jaws.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ)
Many oral surgery cases begin with a visit to the dentist because of persistent facial pain and headaches. In these cases, the patient may be told they have TMJ – a dysfunction of the diminutive joint in front of the ear, right where the lower jaw and the skull meet. Though oral medications, splints, and physical therapy have proven effective in many cases, surgery on the joint might be the only option, if there is an isolated concern with that specific joint.
If you currently have missing teeth due to a previous oral health concern, you’ll want to make an appointment with your dentist soon. Even if you’ve been living with missing teeth for years, you can make a positive impact on your life by addressing this issue. Missing teeth can cause speech issues, problems with the surrounding teeth, gum disease, and more. Surgical options may be right for you, such as a titanium implant with a crown that looks just like your normal, healthy teeth or, a bridge or dentures can help address the problem. Either way, don’t live with missing teeth any longer than you have to.
Moles or Nevi
Most patients don’t think of their dentist when examining their facial moles or skin abnormalities, but dentists and oral surgeons deal with all kinds of disorders – including those that affect the facial area. If your moles begin to change shape, have irregular borders, are comprised of many colors, or you’re developing new ones, please take a moment and contact your oral health care professional to schedule an examination. Skin cancer commonly starts in these irregular areas, so minimize the risk by acting early on.
If you live in the Langhorne, Meadowbrook, Huntingdon Valley, or Doylestown areas in Pennsylvania, or in a nearby community, and you suspect you are suffering from one or more of the symptoms listed above, contact us immediately at 215-437-0628.
We are happy to schedule an appointment to accurately diagnose your oral health concerns, and then suggest a course of treatment that will deliver the best outcomes possible. For more information, contact Drs. Michael T. Dachowski, DDS or Michael D. Sock, DDS today.