This is the name given to surgical treatment of the tooth supporting structures of the oral cavity including removal of teeth. This often includes referral for the removal of a particular tooth, or wisdom teeth due to anticipated difficulty in this procedure.
Some reasons for tooth removal are to eliminate pain and infection from decayed, fractured or unrestorable teeth. Other teeth are removed to avoid issues which may arise in the future.
The removal of a tooth should not be underestimated and it can be a difficult task, even with the best of training. Significant issues can arise in removing teeth even when done by the most experienced of clinicians. Your general dental practitioner is looking after your best interests in referring those cases to an oral surgeon.
Possible complications from dental extractions include pain and infection, permanent numbness of the tongue and lips, damage to adjacent teeth, displacement of teeth into complicating areas. Having an experienced surgeon perform your surgery will minimise the risk of such issues.
With wisdom teeth, your surgeon will explain potential problems in leaving these teeth, and how this can relate to your age including recurrent gum infection due to impaction, decay, damage to adjacent teeth due to pressure, associated disease or pathology and more.
In some situations, your medical history can require the expertise of a surgeon with medical education. Oral & Maxillofacial surgeons are familiar with complicating factors like diabetes, heart complaints and medications such as blood thinners. They are also up to date on complicating factors like osteoporosis medications and the ramifications of dental extractions in patients on such medications.
Such dento-alveolar surgery is performed as day surgery and your case will be discussed at the consultation with the benefit of xrays. If your surgeon deems appropriate, they may send you for 3D imaging done at a specialist radiology department to highlight structures such as adjacent nerves, teeth and structures. The benefit of your oral & maxillofacial surgeon coordinating this scan is that you will be entitled to a rebate only afforded to such a specialist practitioner.
A post-operative review is always advisable, and this is usually two weeks after such procedures where your surgeon will review your recovery.