Month: June 2019

what does an oral surgeon do 62a211f2f08ec

WHAT DOES AN ORAL SURGEON DO?

Your visit your medical doctor and dentist for your regular health care needs, you see your orthodontist to treat problems with your bite and alignment, and your periodontist looks after your gum health. If one of your medical or dental professionals recommends that you receive treatment from an oral surgeon, you probably have some questions. First of all, why recommend an oral surgeon?

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specialists. They have a minimum of four years of surgical education and training in a hospital-based residency program. They train with medical residents, and focus on studies in general surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, plastic surgery, otolaryngology (the study of the ear, nose, and throat), among other fields of specialty.

Because oral and maxillofacial education is centered on the face, mouth, and jaw, these surgeons are experts in diagnosing complex medical conditions in these structures and treating them. Your doctor or dentist might recommend an oral surgeon if you require medical or dental care in any of the following fields:

  • Anesthesia

Oral surgeons are trained in the administration of local anesthesia, sedation, and general anesthesia.

  • Craniofacial Surgery

Oral surgeons work, often as part of a team of specialists, to treat congenital conditions such as cleft lips, cleft palates, and cranial anomalies.

  • Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Training in the surgical treatment of the muscles, skin, and bones of the face makes oral surgeons especially qualified to perform cosmetic procedures which enhance aesthetic appearance and improve function. Ask your oral surgeon about procedures such as chin surgery, cheekbone implants, ear surgery, skin treatments, and other cosmetic surgery options.

  • Facial Injuries and Traumas

Oral surgeons are skilled in repairing complex fractures of the upper and lower jaws as well as treating other facial injuries.

  • Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Surgery

If you have difficulty biting or swallowing, TMJ pain, sleep apnea, a protruding or receding jaw, or other jaw complications, corrective surgery can restore better, healthier function to your jaw or temporomandibular joint.

  • Oral Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for recovery, so see your oral surgeon immediately if you or your dentist detect any of the warning signs of oral cancer.

  • Oral Surgeries

Oral surgeons also perform extractions; dental implant surgery; procedures to save a damaged tooth such as apicoectomies, hemisections, and root resections; procedures to treat soft tissue, including frenectomies, soft tissue grafts, and crown lengthening; and surgeries which treat sleep apnea.

Oral surgeons like Dr. Bentz are experts in preserving and restoring the health, the function, and the appearance of your face, mouth, and jaw. If your doctor or dentist recommends that you visit our East Norriton, PA office, rest assured that you will be treated by a specialist who is exceptionally qualified to diagnose and treat you.

why you should have your wisdom teeth removed 62a211ffe260b

WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR WISDOM TEETH REMOVED

It’s human nature to delay tackling problems. We even have the clichés to prove it: “Leave well enough alone.” “Out of sight, out of mind.” “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” But when it comes to your health, proactive care is always best. And when it comes to dental health, your wisdom teeth are certainly something to be proactive about!

Children have 20 baby teeth that are replaced over time with 32 adult teeth. The last to arrive, in our late teens and early twenties, are the four third molars, or wisdom teeth. But that “32” total is a little flexible. Some people never develop wisdom teeth at all. You can stop reading here if you are one of this carefree group. The rest of us have from one to four wisdom teeth, and it’s a smart idea to ask our dental professionals just what we have going on below the gumline.

Your dentist might be the first to mention your wisdom teeth at your regular checkup, or you might be surprised to see a new tooth emerging while you are doing your nightly brushing and flossing. Wisdom teeth can remain trapped under gums and bone, a condition called “impaction,” they can erupt partially, or sometimes even erupt completely. They can be symptom-free, or may present with pain, redness, swelling, or bad breath. But whenever the first signs of wisdom teeth appear, in an X-ray or in your mirror, it’s time to discuss your options.

Completely Impacted Tooth

A wisdom tooth may never erupt, remaining trapped below your gums because it has no room to emerge. Even though it isn’t visible, an impacted wisdom tooth can pose serious risks requiring its extraction:

  • Other teeth might be pushed out of alignment as the tooth tries to emerge
  • The roots of neighboring teeth can be damaged by pressure from the trapped tooth
  • A cyst can develop around the impacted tooth which can damage neighboring teeth, nerves, and bone
  • Rarely, a tumor can develop. While these are usually benign, they can require the removal of bone and tissue.

Even if you are symptom-free, regular exams and X-rays are important for monitoring the condition of impacted wisdom teeth to make sure that they remain problem-free.

Partially Impacted Tooth

A wisdom tooth can also begin to erupt, but never break completely through the gums. The partially exposed tooth and the gum tissue are very difficult to clean effectively, trapping food particles and bacteria. Partially erupted teeth:

  • Have a greater chance of serious decay
  • Increase the risk of gum disease
  • Can also cause problems as they emerge when they are angled toward neighboring teeth.

When infection and rapid decay are present, or the tooth is emerging at an angle which can damage nearby teeth or bone, extraction is often considered the best treatment option.

Preventive Extraction

Some people have enough room in their mouths to accommodate wisdom teeth without affecting the alignment of their other teeth or their bite. Some wisdom teeth never erupt at all, staying within the jawbone without affecting other teeth. If there are no problems with these teeth, your dentist and oral surgeon might recommend leaving them in place and monitoring them carefully.

If there is the potential for crowding, damage to nearby teeth, or any other future problems, extraction could be recommended as a preventative measure. Age can be an important factor in recommending extraction as well. Patients in their late teens and early twenties often have an easier time with wisdom tooth surgery because:

  • The roots of the wisdom tooth aren’t as developed
  • Jawbone structure is not as dense
  • Shorter roots aren’t as likely to impact sinuses in the upper jaw
  • Shorter roots are less likely to cause interference with nerves in the lower jaw
  • Bone healing and regeneration is more efficient at this age.

If you are considering the best plan of action for your wisdom teeth, an appointment with Dr. Bentz at our East Norriton, PA office is a very good idea. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons have a minimum of four years of advanced studies in a hospital-based residency program, where they train with medical residents in the fields of general surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, and other specialties with a specific focus on the bones, muscles, and nerves of the face, mouth, and jaw.

Oral surgeons like Dr. Bentz are experts in dealing with wisdom teeth and surgical extractions. And while most extractions are fairly straightforward, their surgical training and experience is invaluable where extractions are more complicated due to the position of the tooth in the jaw, the degree of impaction, and the length and development of the roots. They are trained in all forms of anesthesia, and can provide whichever method you choose for your most comfortable experience, whether it be local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia.

When you’re dealing with your health, the only cliché that really applies is “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! Whether your wisdom teeth are best treated with extraction or regular monitoring, Dr. Bentz can help you decide on the best plan for your dental health both today and for your future.

dental implants vs dentures which is the right choice 62a2120a93a90

DENTAL IMPLANTS VS. DENTURES—WHICH IS THE RIGHT CHOICE?

For hundreds of years, tooth loss meant dentures. And over those hundreds of years, dentures have become more realistic, more secure, and more comfortable.

Now, however, Dr. Bentz and our team have the technology to replace missing teeth with dental implants that look just like our natural teeth, that are firmly anchored in the jaw just like our natural teeth, and that are easy to clean and care for just like our natural teeth. If you are debating the merits of both kinds of tooth replacement, here are some comparisons to consider.

  • Confidence

No matter how securely dentures are attached, no matter how “new and improved” your adhesive is, dentures are not anchored in the bone as implants are. There is always the possibility—or worrying about the possibility—of slipping, clicking and other noises, and problems with speech and pronunciation.

Implants fuse with the bone in your jaw, so the base of the implant acts like the root of your natural tooth. Biting, chewing, speaking, and appearance are unaffected, because implants function just like “real” teeth.

  • Convenience

Full dentures and partial dentures should be removed every night. Placing them in a mild cleaning solution or soaking them in water is important to help them keep their shape. Ideally, dentures should be removed and rinsed every time you eat.

With implants, you treat them as you treat your natural teeth. Brush, floss, and see your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings. No need to add to your daily to-do list.

  • Cuisine

When you wear dentures, foods like apples, pork chops, and corn on the cob are probably off the menu. Let’s not even think about the occasional caramel! Some denture users also notice that food doesn’t taste as flavorful, because dentures which cover the roof of the mouth also cover the taste buds located on the soft palate.

Implants function just like your natural teeth, so feel free to indulge in your crisp and chewy favorites—and savor every bite.

  • Health Considerations

First, missing teeth can eventually affect the structure of our jawbones and change our facial appearance. The bone tissue which supports our teeth needs the stimulation of biting and chewing to stay healthy. Without that stimulation, the bone ridge under the missing tooth gradually shrinks, a process called “resorption.” Not only does this bone loss affect the stability of the denture and the health of the bone, it also affects our facial appearance, especially the lips, cheeks, and profile.

Implants, on the other hand, provide the same kind of pressure and stimulation to the jawbone that natural teeth do. Preventing further bone loss is a wonderful additional benefit of choosing dental implants.

Second, fixed bridges can impact neighboring teeth. To provide a base to anchor either side of a fixed bridge, your heathy teeth might need to be ground down and shaped to fit the bridge attachment.

Implants do not affect neighboring teeth, and, unlike bridgework, are easier to clean and floss, thus reducing the risk of decay in the adjacent teeth.

  • Comfort

Loose and ill-fitting dentures can cause irritation and even infection. And because the jawbone begins shrinking when teeth are lost, your dentures will start to fit less comfortably even over their fairly limited lifespan as the contour of your bone continues to change.

Implants can cause a bit of discomfort in the days immediately after surgery, but pain should be manageable with over the counter or prescription pain relief. (Pain that lasts longer than two weeks should be reported to Dr. Bentz right away.) Once you have healed, there should be no further discomfort.

  • Cost

It’s true that dentures can cost less than individual or multiple implants. However, bridges and dentures are meant to be replaced every five to ten years. An implant is meant to last a lifetime. When you factor in the need for regular replacements, you might find that implants are a very competitive economic alternative to dentures.

Finally, if you are uncertain about choosing implants because you are missing several teeth, there are still implant options to consider. Dr. Bentz can place several implant posts strategically, which will then be used to hold a bridge or even a full denture. These types of implants still provide stimulation to the bone beneath, and have the stability that only implants provide.

If you have missing teeth, dentures are no longer your only option. Talk to Dr. Bentz at our East Norriton, PA office today for all of the possibilities that are available to you for a healthy, beautiful, and complete smile.

the benefits of platelet rich plasma 62a2121543ba8

THE BENEFITS OF PLATELET-RICH PLASMA

Our bodies are marvels of self-healing. White blood cells fight infection. Osteoblast cells work to restore broken bones. Skin cells regenerate to repair small injuries daily. So naturally, some of the most exciting innovations in medicine are ways to help our bodies do their repair work more quickly and efficiently. The use of Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) in dental surgeries is one such innovation.

Refresh my memory on platelets?

Our blood has four primary components, which we normally think of in terms of these traditional biological functions:

  • Red blood cells deliver oxygen to the cells throughout the body
  • White blood cells protect against and fight infection
  • Platelets promote blood clotting after an injury
  • Plasma, the liquid component of blood, moves all of these cells, along with nutrients and other substances, throughout the body.

But, of course, the science of our blood is more complex than these blood basics, and platelets do much more than help us reduce bleeding after an injury.

In fact, platelets are not really cells, but cell fragments. They have no nucleus and live only five to nine days. Yet, they play a crucial role in the healing process.

Components of platelets called alpha granules contain growth factors. These growth factors are vital in wound healing. When the body suffers an injury, platelets are rushed to the site, where the numerous proteins present in various growth factors are released into the wound. There, they stimulate stem cells to produce new tissue. There is even a growth factor called bone morphogenetic protein which specifically mobilizes cells to produce new bone tissue.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Wait! No need to refresh my memory quite so thoroughly!” In that case, let’s look at how Dr. Bentz can use a concentration of your own platelets to enhance the healing process after oral surgery.

It’s clear how important platelets are for dental patients: not only do they reduce bleeding, but they promote soft tissue healing and even bone regeneration. Moving more platelets to the surgical site would provide more growth factors to recovering cells more quickly, leading to accelerated healing and regeneration. This is the function of Platelet-Rich Plasma.

Creating PRP

After a small amount of your blood is collected, it is centrifuged in order to concentrate a large number of platelets in a small amount of plasma. This process takes only about 15 minutes, and can be done in our East Norriton, PA oral surgery office. It is then ready for immediate use, usually mixed with a bone grafting material.

Which oral surgeries can benefit from PRP?

Studies have shown beneficial results in bone regeneration and density, as well as accelerated soft tissue healing, when PRP is used in procedures such as:

  • Dental implant surgery
  • Sinus lifts
  • Ridge augmentation
  • Treating bone loss after tooth extraction
  • Periodontal surgery

In fact, Dr. Bentz might recommend PRP for any surgery where more rapid bone regeneration and enhanced soft tissue healing are desirable.

PRP is a safe addition to oral surgery procedures

The platelets are furnished by your own body, so there is no danger of rejection, reaction, or disease transmission. Aging patients, in particular, might benefit from the regenerative and healing properties of Platelet-Rich Plasma.

If you are planning on oral surgery in the near future, you’ve probably made a wish list: a skilled surgeon, the most effective surgical procedure for your needs, and a quick, healthy recovery.

By choosing an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, you have already made sure of the first two items on your list.

As for your recovery time? If you are scheduled for any surgery that would benefit from bone or tissue regeneration, ask Dr. Bentz about Platelet-Rich Plasma therapy. Using your own platelets to accelerate healing? That’s a true marvel!

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610-272-6949

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