Our board-certified medical and dental professionals are able to provide patients with dental implants, preprosthetic surgery, bone grafting, wisdom tooth removal, oral cancer screening, and more.
Our surgeons perform a number of routine, as well as highly complex, dental procedures. Should you require dental implants, preprosthetic surgery, have an oral lesion and require a biopsy and/or lesion removal, or have wisdom teeth that need to be removed, our staff can assist you. Our surgeons’ training in the aforementioned procedures is the most comprehensive available today. We would be happy to provide you with a consultation to discuss any of these procedures.
We are able to provide the most contemporary form of tooth replacement. Dental implants are small titanium posts, which are inserted into the jawbone where teeth are missing and act as root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. The process of replacing missing teeth is generally completed in the following stages:
The initial stage of your procedure will be performed on an outpatient basis at our surgery center. It involves the surgical placement of your dental implants. During the procedure, you will receive either local anesthesia or a light intravenous anesthetic. The length of the procedure is usually one to two hours and you are able to go home in the company of a responsible adult the same day. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within two to three days. Temporary tooth replacements (partial denture or “flippers”) are usually worn while the implant is healing.
Over a period of four to six months, dental implants undergo a process called “osseointegration.” This process involves a fusing of the implant to the bone. The second stage of surgery is then performed to expose the underlying implant and attach small metal posts which protrude from the gums and allow the dentist to attach artificial teeth. This second stage procedure is usually a minor surgical procedure and can be performed with a local anesthetic. You should be able to return to normal activities immediately. After four to six weeks of tissue healing, the final artificial teeth may be fabricated.
This stage includes fabrication of replacement teeth, which attach to your implants. This procedure, which will be performed by our dentists, will start approximately one month following your stage two surgical procedure. The time frame will vary according to your healing response, the number of teeth being replaced, and the technique selected by the dentist. On average, approximately four to six weeks is required for full arch replacement of missing teeth. This process requires several appointments with your dentist.
Teeth In A Day
“Teeth In A Day”, “Teeth By Tonight!”, even “Teeth In An Hour” are all the pitch phrases used by advertising dentists to describe a technology developed by NobelBiocare®. This is a reputable international implant manufacturer who has developed and promoted a mechanism whereby healthy patients who meet specific criteria can undergo placement of dental implants followed by placement of a temporary prosthesis, all in the same day. Many advertising dentists would have you believe that this can be done for every patient. It certainly cannot, nor is it the best option for many patients.
We are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat various pathologic conditions of the oral cavity being based out of the Texas A&M College of Dentistry. The best chance of discovering a malignant or pre-malignant lesion in the oral cavity is through regular dental examinations.
Patients are commonly referred to the surgeons at Professional Services in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery by dentists, specialty dentists and private practice oral and maxillofacial surgeons in order to evaluate suspicious lesions in the oral cavity. While the vast majority of these lesions are benign, the physician may recommend a biopsy. This is typically performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis in our office. A representative sample of tissue is obtained and sent to a pathologist for microscopic evaluation. This process generally takes five to seven days, after which we may or may not recommend further treatment.
The inside of the mouth is lined with mucosa, a special type of skin that is smooth and pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplakia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face, and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology and, curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
Preprosthetic Surgery and Bone Grafting
Bone that surrounds and supports teeth (alveolar bone) is dependent upon tooth function to maintain itself. Once teeth are lost, that support is also lost, and the alveolar bone begins to resorb. Years ago, a variety of procedures were developed to combat this problem, all of which met with limited or short-term success. With the development of dental implants, patients with tooth loss and alveolar bone deficiency can now be successfully restored to functional occlusion in a predictable, long-term fashion. Often, this requires the placement of a bone graft to restore deficient bone prior to the placement of the implants.
Depending on the size and location of the bony defect your surgeon may recommend the placement of a bone graft prior to, or at the same time as, implant placement. The most commonly used bone grafts are of two types, either allogeneic bone (synthetic) or autogenous bone (from your own body). Common donor sites include the chin, the hip, and the shin. In addition, a modern technique of creating bone with gradual traction (distraction osteogenesis) is possible in selected cases. These procedures are usually performed on an outpatient basis under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not happen frequently. Impacted teeth can grow in all directions and take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting, as poorly positioned, impacted teeth can cause many problems. When wisdom teeth are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and can eventually cause infection resulting in swelling, stiffness, pain, and possible severe illness.
The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jaw bone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, we can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient.
Wisdom teeth removal surgery is performed under proper anesthesia. We have the training, licensing, and experience to administer various types of anesthesia to make procedures more comfortable and effective.