By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function, playing an integral role in chewing, digestion, and speech. For instance, the teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine and bicuspid) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back teeth, or molars, are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing. In actuality, the average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth, often depending on the size and shape of an individuals jaw.
You might be having a routine teeth cleaning when your dentist breaks it to you: “It looks like your wisdom teeth are coming through.” Depending on your dentist’s expertise, they may recommend you visit an oral surgeon. If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, your internal alarm may go off, causing anxiety or fear.
First, let’s clarify by asking, what is oral surgery, and maxillofacial surgery? Oral refers to your mouth, while maxillofacial refers to your jaws and face. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may diagnose, treat or perform surgery to resolve injuries or issues in the head, neck, face, jaw, and hard and soft oral tissues. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is recognized internationally as a surgical specialty.
Oral surgery is much more than wisdom teeth removal. You might need oral surgery for something as common as dental implants, or for the treatment of a tumor or cyst in the jaw, for example. Oral surgery can also solve cosmetic or reconstructive needs. Your dentist might also refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for:
- Facial pain or TMJ/TMD
- Wisdom teeth issues
- Misaligned jaw
- Reconstructive surgery following an injury
- Cleft lip and palette surgery
- Cancer in the face, jaw or neck area
- Obstructive sleep apnea
If you have tooth pain, or are in need of wisdom teeth removal, contact the oral surgeons of Atlantic Center of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at (954) 983-1899 to request an appointment, or request an appointment online.