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Here’s The Thing About Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery

As of 2016, more than 196,000 dentists are actively practicing in the United States based on a report by the American Dental Association.

Out of this number, 21 percent are considered dental specialists. Currently, ADA acknowledges nine dental specialties such as the Endodontics, Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Dental Public Health, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, and Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

The Nine Dental Specialists

  1. An endodontist is the dental specialist tapped when it comes to concerns about the dental pulp and its surrounding tissues.
  2. A prosthodontist deals with the creation of artificial teeth like dentures, implants, and bridges which are used to repair and maintain the health, function, and appearance of a person’s teeth and maxillofacial structures.
  3. A periodontist helps prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases related to the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth.
  4. A pediatric dentist is concerned with the preventive and therapeutic care of children up to their teenage years.
  5. An orthodontist prevents, diagnoses, intercepts, and corrects misaligned teeth or malocclusion. He or she also repairs neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the orofacial structures.
  6. A public health dentist serves the community through the promotion of dental health, prevention, and control of dental diseases.
  7. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs surgery to diagnose and treat dental injuries and diseases in hopes of restoring the oral and maxillofacial region’s functions and aesthetics.
  8. An oral and maxillofacial radiologist is a specialist in the production and interpretation of images and data which are often used for diagnosis.
  9. An oral and maxillofacial pathologist is in-charge of examining causes, processes, and effects of dental diseases, as well as, in identifying and managing pathologies of the oral and maxillofacial region.

Zooming in on Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

As mentioned above, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon deals with the treatment of the whole craniomaxillofacial complex which includes the mouth, jaws, face, and skull.

ADA added the specialty to its recognized list of dental specialties in October 1990. Other countries like Australia, United Kingdom, and other parts of Europe consider oral and maxillofacial surgery both as a dental and medical specialty. Therefore, practice in oral and maxillofacial surgery in these countries requires degrees in dentistry and medicine.

How to be an oral surgeon

To be an oral surgeon, you must undergo extensive education and training and a surgical expertise. If you dream to practice this dental specialty in the future, you must complete a pre-dental education, a dental education, additional hours of training and residency.

Most dental schools require a two-year, college-level pre-dental education, while a dental education takes four years of basic dental training to graduate with a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree.

Afterward, a minimum of four years under a hospital-based surgical residency program is necessary, making the average education and training years of aspiring oral surgeons 12 to 14 years.

What are the common dental problems an oral surgeon deals?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon usually performs surgery for impacted teeth especially when it involves a wisdom tooth, tooth loss (using dental implants), jaw-related problems like temporomandibular joint disorder, and other conditions such as broken facial bones.

Endodontics: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide!

The pulp, along with the enamel, dentin, and cementum, comprises the four major components of a tooth. It lies at the center of the tooth and beneath the dentin, a calcified tissue covered by the enamel.

The pulp is composed of nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels. During a tooth’s development, it forms the hard tissues around the tooth. But once the tooth reached full maturity, the pulp becomes unnecessary in its survival because of the tissues around it which take charge in its nourishment.

Unfortunately, despite the tooth’s capability to survive without the pulp, a swollen or infected pulp can negatively impact the tooth and overall oral health as the dentin-pulp complex rest on the pulp cell activity.

Aside from forming the dentin, the pulp also supplies nutrients and moisture to the organic components of the dentin, perceived extreme temperatures, trauma, and pressures as pain, and forms the secondary dentin.

To treat a swollen or infected pulp, an endodontic treatment must be employed. Endodontic treatment is a procedure made on the inside of a tooth to remove the bacteria or dead tissue.

What is Endodontics?

Drawn from the Greek word endo (inside) and odont (teeth), Endodontics is one of the nine dental specialties acknowledged by the American Dental Association. ADA adopted it in December 1983.

Endodontics is in-charge with the pathology, morphology, and physiology of the dental pulp and tissues near or around it. The dental specialty also deals with the study and practice of the fundamental clinical sciences like etiology, the biology of the normal pulp, as well as the treatment of diseases and injuries involving the pulp and its periradicular tissues.

What dental issues call for Endodontic Treatment?

Endodontic treatments are often employed for a cracked tooth, severe tooth pain, and other oral pains. Because of the extensive network of nerves in the mouth, the pain can travel to other tooth or even on the ear, neck, or head.

Traumatic injuries, like a blow on a child’s secondary tooth, call for endodontic treatment as such injury can cause the tooth root’s development to cease. Swelling and pain can be indications of an infected or damaged pulp.

An endodontist, a dentist who specializes in Endodontics, can perform a root canal treatment to save the tooth.

What is a root canal treatment?

A root canal treatment involves the removal of the dental pulp and the cleaning, disinfection, and shaping of the root canals. It also includes filling the area to seal it.

How is a root canal treatment done?

Before getting a root canal treatment, it is recommended that the patient refrain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages at least 12 hours before the procedure.

The patient’s tooth will then be X-rayed and examined. Next, a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area where the procedure is to take place.

A dental dam, which is a small protective sheet, will then be placed over the area to set the tooth apart and keep it clean and free from saliva during the root canal treatment.

The endodontist will then create an opening in the crown, clean the infected pulp, and shape the root canal. Using a biocompatible material such as gutta-percha, the insides of the root canal are filled. An adhesive cement will seal the gutta-percha in place, sealing the root canal completely.

What should I expect after a root canal treatment?

Although root canal treatments are perceived to be comfortable and less painful than other dental treatments, tooth sensitivity may be experienced during the first few days following the procedure.

Over-the-counter and prescribed medicines can be used to relieve you of sensitivity or pain. Because of this, you must take caution on your food intake by avoiding hard foods and exposing your mouth to extreme temperatures.

If severe pain persists, go to your dentist.

It is advised to refrain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages for a while or until your dentist permits. However, it is best to stop these bad habits because smoking and drinking alcohol heighten risks for infections, decay, and other health-related issues.

Most importantly, keep a good oral care routine by brushing twice a day, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash. Good oral hygiene will also help in preventing infection and decay.