When you hear “oral surgery,” you might think that it requires a trip to the hospital. It also might bring up valid questions like What is oral surgery? Or What do oral surgeons do?

Oral surgeons perform surgeries on the face and mouth to help relieve pain, reconstruct bone or tissue, and improve overall appearance. The types of procedures that an oral surgeon performs range from tooth extractions, corrective jaw surgery, dental implants, and more. Learn more about what oral surgery is and if you need it.

At Simister Orthodontics, we are leaders in orthodontic / orthognathic surgery treatments.  We work closely with the finest surgeons in the valley, and have successfully treated hundreds of combined orthodontic / orthognathic surgery cases.  Dr. Simister and Dr. Leaver enjoy interdisciplinary cases like these and finds them to be among the most rewarding to treat.  The results can truly be life-changing.


What is oral surgery?

Oral surgery is a type of dental procedure that is more invasive than procedures that take place in a dentist’s office. General dental offices typically clean teeth, remove cavities, perform root canals, whiten teeth, etc. However, these procedures do not require a surgical specialty. More invasive procedures that are considered oral surgery include:

wisdom tooth graphic Removing wisdom teeth and performing complex extractions: Some teeth may be difficult to remove due to infection or tooth decay. Oral surgeons can remove these teeth and administer anesthesia.


corrective jaw surgery graphic Corrective jaw surgery: What oral surgeons do to correct jaw irregularities is surgically realign or reconstruct the upper or lower jaws into the correct facial relationship. Common reasons for this surgery include TMJ, incorrect bite, jaw clenching and grinding of teeth, or difficulty chewing.


inserting dental implants graphic Inserting dental implants: Oral surgeons can place implants and help reconstruct bone in areas of the mouth to replace missing or extracted teeth.


Tumor Removing cysts, tumors, and infections in the mouth and face: Patients with infections around the face and mouth can be treated by an oral surgeon.


FacialPain Relieve facial pain: Patients who have facial trauma or facial pain disorders can often be treated by oral surgeons.


cleft lip graphic Cleft lip or palate surgery: Individuals with cleft lip or palate may visit an oral surgeon to correct facial deformities.

These surgeries are performed by a certified oral surgeon instead of a general dentist. The procedures may or may not involve general anesthesia or intravenous sedation. These procedures are typically performed in an office and patients leave the same day.


What is an oral surgeon?

Oral surgeons (or maxillofacial surgeons) are dentists who have specialized in oral surgery. What oral surgeons do to obtain their certification is complete dental school and then study their specialization for another 4 to 8 years. They are trained with medical residents and know how to administer sedation, emergency medicine, and perform general surgery.


What does an oral surgeon do differently than a dentist?

What oral surgeons do is different than what a general dentist does. A general dentist has not received all of the same training as an oral surgeon, who specializes in oral surgery. A general dentist will refer patients to an oral surgeon when the dental work required is outside the scope of his or her practice. While general dentists can perform some oral surgeries, they may still refer you to an oral surgeon.


When is Oral Surgery Necessary?

Almost every orthodontic patient has some form of mis-alignment of the teeth and jaws.  However, orthodontic treatment alone can usually correct these irregularities.  In patients where there is a significant discrepancy in the size, shape, or position of the upper and lower jaw, oral surgery (also called orthognathic surgery) may be required.  In these cases, oral surgery is performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.


How Does Oral Surgery Work?

A combined orthodontic / orthognathic surgery case is typically treated as follows:  1.  A patient is evaluated by Dr. Simister or Dr. Leaver to determine if their case can be treated with orthodontics alone, or if oral surgery will also be required.  2.  If surgery is indicate, a treatment plan is made, and braces are placed.  3.  After approximately 6-12 months in braces (depending on the level of pre-surgical preparation required), surgery is performed by an oral surgeon specialist.  4.  After surgery, the patient will be monitored by the oral surgeon for several weeks.  5.  The patient then returns to our office where Dr. Simister or Dr. Leaver finish the orthodontic treatment, usually lasting another 6-12 months after surgery.


What is the Recovery Time for Oral Surgery?

Orthognathic surgery is often intimidating to patients.  However, you may be surprised to discover just how simple the process really is.  Patients often return to work within 1 week of surgery and typically report that their surgery was easier and less painful than anticipated.  Dr. Simister and Dr. Leaver will work closely with you and the oral surgeon to ensure that your combined treatment is as simple and comfortable as possible.

Ready to get an oral surgeon consultation? Contact us here today!