Dental abnormality exists in more people than you might think. In fact, some level of facial growth deformity is present in approximately 20% of the population.
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, over 35 million Americans are missing all teeth in either one or both the upper and lower jaw. 15 million have bridge and crown replacements. 3 million have dental implants, and annually, that number grows by 500,000.
Currently, 10% of dentists in the U.S. place implants, and that number will only increase as the population ages. Previously, the U.S. dental implant and prosthetic market had been projected to reach $6.4 billion by 2018, but once the year came, numbers actually stood much higher, at $9.5 billion.
As the demand for dental surgery increases, so will the number of dental clinics. Procedures done by oral surgeons, in fields related to prosthodontistry, orthognathic surgery, and tooth extraction, will be performed more commonly, too.
Prosthodontistics is a branch of dentistry focused on artificial replacements in relation to the teeth and other areas of the mouth. It centers around restoring and preserving dental appearance, function, and health.
According to the Journal of Oral Implantology, as reported by scientific literature, dental implant success rates stand at 98 percent, and we can expect the market, in the U.S. and in Europe, for these dental implants to reach $4.2 billion by 2022 – a successful and lucrative field.
The two main types of dental implants are endosteal and subperiosteal.
Endosteal implants are most common, usually made of small titanium screws and surgically placed into the jawbone. Subperiosteal implants are typically placed on or above the jawbone and underneath the gum. Patients without sufficient jawbone usually opt for this type of implant.
Orthognathic surgery is also known as corrective jaw surgery, focused on amending conditions related to facial structure and growth – sleep apnea, TMJ (jawbone joint) disorders, abnormal upper and lower teeth alignment, and other orthodontic issues.
This type of oral surgery typically lasts approximately 3~5 hours, performed in a surgical environment – such as within dental clinics – under general anesthesia, by an orthognathic surgeon or a corrective jaw surgeon. Certain conditions, however, must first be met before undergoing the procedure.
Patients must be of a certain minimum age, since they are eligible only once growth has stopped. According to the Mayo Clinic, for females, this range is 14 to 16 years old, for males, 17 to 21 years old.
A year before the oral surgery, patients typically undergo orthodontic treatment to align teeth to the bone. After orthognathic surgery, bones must heal in the correct position, before a final phase that involves several months of braces.
Corrective jaw surgery is a process that takes time in order to ensure proper positioning of the teeth and jaw and proper healing.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Dental clinics may also provide services related to tooth extractions, yet another type of maxillofacial surgery, which typically entails wisdom teeth removal.
According to WebMD, wisdom teeth are “the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties.” When they come in properly aligned, they can be assets to the mouth. However, oftentimes, this is not the case.
If they erupt misaligned, usually positioned horizontally and angled abnormally – ie. inward or outward – or impacted, patients end up experiencing wisdom tooth pain. This results in the need for a tooth removal procedure by a maxillofacial surgeon.
Before the development of any problems, as a result of misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth, dental clinics may take preemptive action by recommending the procedure. Periodically-taken X-rays may be used to check for the presence of wisdom teeth, then to evaluate alignment.
A more specialized oral surgeon may be suggested for further evaluation and for the actual extraction process.
Maxillofacial Procedures In Sum
Oral pathology, the dentistry branch of pathology, is often overlooked when compared to other conditions and diseases, physical and mental. However, oral health should never be neglected.
While not every individual requires dental surgery or is even obligated to do so, it wouldn’t hurt to remain aware of oral structural health. Why not periodical pay visits to dental clinics?