Area Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
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Removal of Wisdom Teeth

The “wisdom teeth” or 3rd molars are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth.  If there is enough room, and the tissue surrounding the teeth is healthy, they can remain in the mouth.  Because they are the last teeth in the mouth, they can be very difficult to clean and keep free of bacteria.  Impacted teeth can remain trapped in the bone, grow sideways or affect surrounding teeth.    A serious condition can occur when tumors or cysts form around the wisdom teeth, which can destroy part of the jaw bone and healthy surrounding teeth.  For these reasons, it is best to have the wisdom teeth removed early to prevent future problems.

Dental Implants

A missing tooth can affect your bite, speech and comfort for eating.  As you use remaining teeth, you increase the chance of damage.  You may also experience headaches and/or jaw pain.  People can lose 25% of supporting jawbone within the first year after tooth loss.  It is easier to place dental implants when the teeth are first extracted because bone replacement becomes more difficult as time passes.  Implants perform just like natural teeth.  By getting an implant you preserve the bone structure, oral health and appearance.

Dental implants are the most comfortable and permanent solution to replace missing teeth and keep the jaw bone healthy and strong.  Implants support individual replacement of teeth or secure a specialized denture in place.   Dr. Bruce Thomas would be happy to meet with you to help you make an informed decision about dental implants.  

Bone Grafting

Bone Grafting is used to build bone so that a dental implant can be placed.  The procedure is designed to rebuild bone structure.

Ridge expansion

When teeth are removed, the alveolar ridge bone surrounding and supporting the teeth begins to deteriorate.  The bone can also lose density due to age or disease. 

Ridge expansion is performed when the jaw is not wide enough or high enough to support implants. The bony ridge of the jaw is increased using special surgical instruments. Bone graft material is inserted and allowed to heal before placing the implant.

Sinus Lift

Sinuses are hollow channels behind the cheek and above the upper teeth. Some of the roots of the teeth extend up into these spaces. When teeth are removed in the upper arch, often there is a thin wall of bone left between the sinus and the mouth.  In order to support an implant, a bone grafting procedure is performed to prepare the site.  The sinus is lifted and bone is grafted below it to make a substantial base to support an implant. 

Oral Pathology

The mouth is an area where changes can be seen and oral cancer can be detected in early states.  Self-examinations will help early recognition of possible oral cancer and increase the chance of a cure. 

When performing an oral cancer self-examination, look for the following:

  • white patches of the oral tissues
  • red patches
  • a sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • an abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • a mass or lump in the neck

See Dr. Thomas if you have any of these signs.  If Dr. Thomas agrees that something looks suspicious a biopsy will be performed.  A biopsy involves the removal of a piece of suspicious tissue.  It is then sent to a pathology laboratory to diagnose the problem.  The pathology report is sent back for review to help determine a specific plan for treatment. 


We offer multiple options to make you as comfortable as possible during your oral surgery procedure.

Local anesthetic - Anesthetic medication is administered locally at the site of the procedure.  This medication/numbing usually wears off in 3-6 hours.  

Nitrous Oxide is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask that fits over your nose to help you relax. It is not intended to put you to sleep. You will be able to hear and respond to any requests or directions. You breathe normally through your nose, and within a few short minutes you should start to feel the effects of the nitrous oxide. You may feel light-headed or a tingling in your arms and legs. Some people say their arms and legs feel heavy. Ultimately, you should feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide wear off soon after the mask is removed.

Conscious IV Sedation is often the preferred method for oral surgery. Medications are administered through a line inserted into the vein.  This is also commonly known as “twilight anesthesia,” as it is a depressed level of consciousness with the ability to respond to verbal commands. Most patients will not remember anything about the procedure that was performed under this type of anesthesia.  Supplemental oxygen is delivered through the nose, and the patient’s vital signs are closely monitored during and after the procedure.

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