Wisdom Tooth Surgery

Wisdom teeth, sometimes referred to as “third molars”, usually start coming in during a person's late teens or early twenties. Most adults will get 4 wisdom teeth, and while they do sometimes come in properly, generally wisdom teeth become impacted or come in sideways. Additionally, they can have a negative effect on the rest of your teeth as they crowd the available space on your gum line.

As such, it is generally recommended that people have them removed. Delaying the removal of wisdom teeth can result in them becoming so impacted that they fuse with the upper or lower jaw, which then complicates removal. When a tooth fuses with the bone, it is necessary to perform a procedure called bone removal to extract the tooth. Additionally, up to 11% of patients who do not have their wisdom teeth removed will experience cysts and tumors in the area of impact, with the probability of these complications rising as a function of age.

As a general rule, it is best to extract wisdom teeth as soon as it is determined that they have become impacted or before the formation of the root is complete. Removing wisdom teeth later in life can present your oral and maxillofacial surgeon with a more complicated procedure, as increased bone density and the potential for jaw line bone loss or systemic diseases of the mouth or jaw may limit his or her options.

Extracting Wisdom Teeth

Before your oral and maxillofacial surgeon begins the extraction of your wisdom teeth, you will probably be given a local anesthetic (or in some cases a general anesthetic) to dull the pain. Aric Murphy, DDS M.D. generally recommends that you not eat or drink 6 hours before your surgery, as doing so in combination with the anesthetic can cause people to become nauseous. Once you are “under”, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon will remove the wisdom teeth. In some cases this may require your surgeon to break the tooth into multiple pieces. After the teeth have been removed, stitches may be required, and a folded piece of gauze will be placed over the extraction point to help stop the bleeding.

After Your Wisdom Teeth Have Been Removed

The period of recovery after wisdom teeth removal usually only lasts a few days. You will be prescribed painkillers to help mitigate the pain. Immediately after the removal procedure, you will be instructed to bite down very gently on the gauze pad, and to change the pads out periodically as they become saturated in blood. Your mouth will still be numb, so be careful not to bite on your tongue or inner cheek. Be sure to take some time to get comfortable and relax, as increasing your heart rate may increase the bleeding. Rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water a few times a day after surgery will help reduce the amount of pain and prevent infection. You should eat mostly soft foods for the first few days after your procedure too, and avoid sucking on a straw or smoking on the day after your surgery. This can loosen blood clots causing additional bleeding, and can contaminate the wound.

For more information about wisdom teeth removal, please call Murphy OMS today at: (970) 420-6848

Implant Surgery

Dental implants are prosthetic teeth, generally made of titanium, which are designed to look, feel, and function just like normal teeth. There are two main components to a dental implant. The “root device” is implanted and fused with your bone, and serves as an anchor for the “prosthetic”, or artificial tooth. The root device can actually support a number of other dental prosthesis, including bridges, crowns, and dentures.

“Statistics show 3 out of 4 adults ages 40 to 64 have lost at least one permanent tooth due to an accident, gum disease, a failed root canal or tooth decay. Furthermore, 1 in 5 adults over 65 have lost all their permanent teeth.”

“Years ago, treatment options were limited to a fixed bridge or removable denture to restore the ability to eat, speak clearly and smile. Today, fixed bridges, removable dentures and implants are all options for replacement of missing teeth. Implants have unique and distinct advantages, so it is important for you to discuss these options with your oral surgeon to determine which option is best for you.”

“Fixed bridges affect adjacent healthy teeth, and denture wearers may suffer bone loss. Recurrent decay, gum disease and wear can lead to failure. For these reasons, fixed bridges and removable dentures may need to be replaced..”

“Dental implants are long-term tooth replacements your OMS can surgically place in the jawbone. Composed of titanium alloy that “fuses” with the jawbone through a process called osseointegration, implants are stable and can be used to support tooth replacement. Because dental implants “fuse” with the jawbone, bone loss is generally not a problem.”

Credit: American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

A Permanent Solution to Missing Teeth

Modern technological advances in dentistry have delivered another option for patients with missing teeth. Dental implants are a long term solution and are virtually indistinguishable in both form and function from normal healthy teeth. A dental implant designed to replace a single tooth is composed of three parts. First, a titanium post is implanted into the bone directly under the prosthetic. This post fuses with the bone, and can help prevent the bone along the jaw line from thinning or degenerating. Second, an abutment is placed over the titanium post as it protrudes from the gum line and serves as a mount for the crown, or visible portion of the prosthetic tooth.

Dental implants offer a permanent solution to missing teeth, can help prevent bone loss in the jaw line, give you back the ability to eat normally, and allow you to speak clearly and confidently with your family, friends, and coworkers. People with implants often say their replacement teeth allow them to look better, feel better, and live better.

For more information about this exciting new technology, please call Murphy OMS today at: (970) 420-6848

Exposure and Bond

While wisdom teeth are often impacted, other teeth can be impacted as well. An impacted tooth is simply one that has been blocked from entering the mouth. Because of the placement and difficulties of caring for wisdom teeth, many oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend their removal. Other impacted teeth can be brought into proper position through an expose-and-bond procedure - a process combined with orthodontic treatment that can bring the impacted tooth into its proper position.

What is "Expose and Bond"?

When patients visit an orthodontist to have their teeth straightened, space also is made for any unerupted teeth. If the teeth fail to erupt on the expected timeline, the orthodontist refers the patient to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) for an expose-and-bond procedure. During the procedure:

  • The unerupted tooth is exposed.
  • A bracket may be attached to the newly exposed tooth and connected to the patient's orthodontia via a chain.

At a later visit to the orthodontist, the patient will have special hardware activated to slowly move the exposed tooth or teeth into place.

Why Expose Impacted Teeth?

The expose-and-bond procedure is oral surgery to expose an unerupted tooth. The following are reasons why the surgery is performed:

  • If a tooth is not erupting due to its position in the mouth, and it is unlikely to erupt on its own.
  • The position of an unerupted tooth could damage the roots of adjacent teeth if it is not relocated to its proper position.
  • Cysts can form around unerupted teeth and lead to other health issues.
  • Even if the tooth does eventually erupt, it can push other teeth out of position.

Credit: American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

For more information, please call Murphy OMS today at: (970) 420-6848

Lingual/Labial Frenectomy

A frenum or frenulum is a small “band” of tissue located in the mouth: under the tongue, inside the upper lip, inside the lower lip and connecting the tongue, cheek or lip to the gums. A frenectomy is a simple surgical procedure to release these bands. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) typically performs a frenectomy to increase the range of motion of the tongue (removing the lingual frenum) or to assist closing a gap in a patient's upper front teeth (removing the labial frenum). If untreated, excessive frena may allow gum tissue to be pulled away from adjacent teeth. This can lead to root exposure and periodontal problems. Frenectomies can be performed via scalpel, electrosurgery or laser surgery.

Lingual Frenectomy

The lingual frenum connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth and lower jaw. The specific position of the lingual frenal attachment varies from person to person. This variation means some people will have a lingual frenum that restricts the movement of the tongue. This is sometimes referred to as being “tongue-tied.” Infants with this condition can have difficulty with nursing and, eventually, with speaking. A lingual frenectomy is a quick procedure that reduces the size of the frenum, allowing the tongue to move freely. If restricted tongue movement is discovered early, a frenectomy can be performed as early as the first few weeks after birth.

Labial Frenectomy

The labial frenum normally connects the upper and lower lips to the gum area near the front teeth. If the labial frenum connects closer to the front teeth within the gum tissue, it can create spacing issues and hygiene problems. Although many parents and patients worry about the gap for cosmetic reasons, extra space between the teeth can make it easier for food to become stuck and contribute to gingivitis. If a lower labial frenum attachment causes excess tension, it may result in root exposure and gum problems in the affected teeth. Labial frenectomies are simple procedures that can be performed at any age after the permanent teeth have erupted.

Credit: American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

For more information, please call Murphy OMS today at: (970) 420-6848

Bone Grafting Procedure

Bone grafting is a method by which additional bone material is used to form a sort of "scaffolding" along which damaged bone can heal. Bone generally has the ability to heal completely on its own, however, in areas where there may be missing bone mass or where the fracture is particularly complex, it is sometimes necessary to "bridge the gap". Over time, the natural bone in a patient will complete the healing process, and the bone graft will be reabsorbed into the patient's body.

This applies in particular to patients who experience bone loss along their jaw line as missing teeth can cause the jaw to atrophy or dissolve. Using the latest in bone grafting methods and technologies, Murphy OMS in Fort Collins, Colorado can repair the jaw itself in patients who have had missing teeth for an extended period of time.

Do I Require Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting is a technique often used to repair an atrophied jaw line in preparation for a dental implant to replace missing teeth and restore health, functionality and cosmetic appearance. It is also a common method for repairing other traumatic facial injuries, and bone that has been affected by gum disease, congenital defect, fractured teeth, tumor surgery and a number of other conditions. In most cases, a bone graft is a minor procedure that can be accomplished in a single visit to our office with only local anesthesia.

If you have had missing teeth for an extended period of time, please schedule a consultation with Murphy OMS in Fort Collins, Colorado today either online by or by calling our office at: (970) 420-6848

Patient Escort Instructions

Escorts are required to:

  • Accompany the patient to the office
  • Remain in the office during surgery
  • Drive the patient home
  • Stay with the patient after surgery until the effects of anesthesia are no longer present (typically 4-8 hours)