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Oral Surgery

Oral Surgery

Oral surgery encompasses a wide range of surgical procedures performed on the teeth, gums, jaw, and surrounding oral and facial structures. It is a recognized specialty within dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries, and defects involving both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.

Common Types of Oral Surgery

  • Tooth Extractions: The removal of teeth due to decay, trauma, disease, or overcrowding. Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most well-known procedures.
  • Dental Implants: The placement of artificial tooth roots (usually made of titanium) into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. Over time, the implant integrates with the bone, providing a stable base for artificial teeth (crowns).
  • Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery): Performed to correct a range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. This surgery can improve chewing, speaking, and breathing.
  • Bone Grafting: A procedure to rebuild or enhance bone structure in areas of deficiency, often a prerequisite for dental implants when the patient lacks sufficient natural bone due to various reasons like periodontal disease or tooth loss.
  • Treatment of Facial Injuries: Repairing facial bone fractures and injuries, which may involve setting the jaw, wiring teeth, or other procedures to ensure proper healing and alignment.
  • Cleft Lip and Palate Repair: A series of surgeries to correct congenital deformities of the lip and palate, improving the patient’s ability to eat, speak, hear, and breathe, and restoring a more normal appearance and function.
  • Removal of Lesions and Biopsies: Diagnosing and removing benign and malignant tumors, cysts, and other pathological tissue from the oral and maxillofacial region.
  • Management of Oral Infections: Treatment of infections in the oral cavity, salivary glands, jaws, and neck, which may require surgical drainage, extraction of teeth, or other interventions.

What to Expect

  • Consultation and Diagnosis: An initial consultation involves a thorough examination, which may include X-rays or other imaging techniques, to diagnose the condition and plan the treatment.
  • Anesthesia: Oral surgery can be performed under local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of the procedure and patient comfort.
  • The Surgical Procedure: The specific steps will vary depending on the type of surgery being performed. The surgeon will use specialized tools and techniques to address the issue while minimizing the impact on surrounding tissues.
  • Recovery and Aftercare: Post-operative instructions may include medications for pain and infection prevention, dietary restrictions, and oral hygiene practices. The recovery process varies by individual and procedure.

Choosing an Oral Surgeon

Oral surgeons, or maxillofacial surgeons, are dental specialists who have completed additional years of hospital-based surgical and anesthesia training after dental school. When choosing an oral surgeon, consider their experience, qualifications, and the comfort level of the patient with the surgeon. Referrals from a general dentist, patient reviews, and consultations can help in making an informed decision.

Oral surgery can significantly improve a patient's quality of life by alleviating pain, correcting functional issues, and enhancing aesthetic appearance. However, as with any surgical procedure, it's important to understand the risks, benefits, and alternatives to make an informed decision.
Oral Surgery

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