When most people think of oral surgery, they immediately think of dental extractions and reconstruction. With new advances in surgery, implantology, and maxillofacial procedures, the discipline of oral surgery has come a long way in the past several years. Dr. Thomas Ocheltree, a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon from Bloomington, Illinois, describes these advances and how they can help oral surgery patients achieve better health and a brighter smile.
Same-Day Dental Implants
In the past, dental implantation has been a long and drawn-out process. First, the diseased teeth need to be removed, followed by a bone grafting procedure using bovine bone. Then a healing period of several months is necessary before the permanent dental implant is placed. Recent advances in this procedure have brought same-day dental implants to patients around the country. When patients receive same-day implants, they are able to go about their lives immediately without the waiting period and without the embarrassment caused by broken or missing teeth. Patients are highly satisfied with this process, bringing better results to their chosen oral surgeon.
Guided Implant Surgery
Using the best 3D digital imaging, oral surgeons are able to create complete maps of their patients’ mouths. This enables implantation surgeries to be less damaging and more successful overall, avoiding nerve and blood vessel areas. With the extra precision of guided surgery, patients have shorter recovery times and better outcomes.
Transoral Robotic Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons do more than removing and replacing diseased teeth. They are also responsible for treating other disorders of the mouth and face. When a patient has a serious problem like a malignant oral tumor, transoral robotic surgery can help them receive targeted care with less risk. The surgeon has specialized cameras and viewing tools that magnify the view inside the mouth and provide for 3D support. The surgeon controls tiny tools with the robotic system, enabling them to do smaller-scale work more precisely. This leads to fewer complications and a quicker recovery for the patient.
Arthroscopic Surgery for TMJ
In recent years, arthroscopic surgery has made many exciting advances, claims Dr. Thomas Ocheltree. With arthroscopic surgery, TMJ sufferers can receive less invasive treatment for their issues. When a patient undergoes TMJ arthroscopy, the doctor uses a thin tube or cannula to reach into the space around the joint. Surgery is performed with small instruments. Dr. Thomas Ocheltree believes that this form of TMJ surgeries can often result in shorter and more comfortable recovery times for patients.
Correction of Birth Defects
Maxillofacial surgeons also provide surgery for birth defects and other serious problems. With these surgeries, doctors are able to bring their patients a higher quality of life starting at a young age. Using CAD systems and 3D printing, oral surgeons are able to reconstruct defects more precisely and without as many side effects as older procedures. Virtual surgery helps the doctor plan his or her operation, answering any questions that he or she might have during the process.
Surgery to Manage a Complex Airway
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons can also treat patients with airway disorders. Recent advances in the treatment of epiglottitis and neck trauma have brought patients relief from painful situations. These problems often occur when patients have undergone tracheostomy or intubation at length. They can also be caused by malignant diseases and deformities.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Depends on Technology
Traditional oral and maxillofacial surgery is limited to a certain number of procedures. With the increased reach of technology, more and better surgical options are available to correct oral and facial defects. From the simplest procedure of wisdom teeth removal to complex systems of removing cancerous growths, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon must become an expert at diagnosing and treating many ailments. Dr. Thomas Ocheltree has helped to advance his discipline through the introduction of new procedures.