Understanding the Wisdom Behind Extracting Wisdom Teeth

dentist tools Understanding the Wisdom Behind Extracting Wisdom Teeth

A family dentist recommends a teen patient visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) for removal of his wisdom teeth. But what if he’s not experiencing any problems with the teeth right now?

What oral and maxillofacial surgeons want every patient (and parent) to know is that pain-free doesn’t mean problem-free when it comes to wisdom teeth.

Third molar risks

Wisdom teeth, clinically called third molars, are those teeth in the back corners of the mouth that grow in the late teens or early 20s. Even wisdom teeth that are symptom-free pose an increased risk for chronic oral infections, periodontitis and tooth decay, according to results of a seven-year clinical trial conducted by researchers for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

Wisdom teeth need to be extracted when they are unable to properly enter the mouth. They may grow sideways, emerge only partially or even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. These “impacted” teeth can cause many health problems, even tumors or cysts around the roots that can destroy the jawbone and nearby healthy teeth. Partially erupted teeth may allow bacteria to grow, potentially leading to gum disease (gingivitis) that causes swelling, stiffness, pain and illness.

“While not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted, all of them need to be managed.”

Oral bacteria associated with periodontal disease have been linked to more serious health problems, including coronary artery disease, stroke, kidney disease and diabetes. The “Third Molar Clinical Trials” research added a new perspective to the possible risks for young women. Periodontitis affecting retained wisdom teeth can lead to inflammation throughout the body, increasing the risk of delivering a low birth-weight infant.

Avoiding potential trouble

Third molars often push adjacent teeth out of alignment, thereby altering the bite and threatening jaw integrity. Many orthodontists refer their patients to an OMS for third molar extractions before beginning treatment to minimize the risk of gingivitis and other problems that could affect the success of the orthodontia.

In general, a young adult’s wisdom teeth have incomplete root development, making tooth removal relatively uncomplicated. As wisdom teeth continue to grow, however, the roots lengthen and may become tangled with the sensory nerves that run through the lower jaw or the sinus area.

While not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted, all of them need to be managed. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons provide their patients the best advice based on a thorough examination, appropriate imaging and tests and discussions with the patient and family. If a decision is made to keep the wisdom teeth, patients are advised to keep the areas meticulously clean and get an annual examination to assess any changes in the teeth or gum tissues.

5 Steps to Optimal Wellness

collage 5 Steps to Optimal Wellness

The best advocate for your health and well-being that you will ever have is you.
Follow these simple steps in order to achieve the best version of yourself.

While traditional medicine has evolved through vast technological advancements of pharmacologic (and other) remedies, modern gurus have taken a more moderate approach to the mysticism of human existence. There is consensus that a connection to the universe exists inside the human body. There in lies a power that once sparked can be a source of wellness. That wellness is just as great a source of healing than the advanced skill of physicians and surgeons. Alternative pathways of medicine rooted in ancient cultures have now become integrated as mainstream tools for prevention and cure.

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Maxillofacial Surgery Center for Excellence of Red Bank Achieves AAAHC Accreditation

AAAHC 1024x365 Maxillofacial Surgery Center for Excellence of Red Bank   Achieves AAAHC Accreditation

Maxillofacial Surgery Center for Excellence has achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). Accreditation distinguishes this outpatient surgical center for maxillofacial surgery from other outpatient facilities by assuring provision of the highest quality of care to patients as determined by an independent, external process of evaluation.

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Nine Ways To Play It Safe In Sports

bigstock American football game 64444489 Nine Ways To Play It Safe In SportsThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that nearly 30 million school-aged youths play organized sports each year.

According to www.health.gov, participating in sports delivers myriad health, social, academic and even employment benefits. These advantages don’t come without some risk, however. More than 3.5 million kids under age 14 receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year. High school-age athletes add 2 million injuries – half a  million of them requiring doctor visits and 30,000 requiring hospital stays. The CDC says more than half of these injuries are preventable. Facial trauma is one category of injury. Maxillofacial injuries include any injury to the mouth, face and jaw.

Recently, an increased level of concern has generated a groundswell of action among parents and youth sports organizations to take every possible precaution when it comes to protecting young athletes from concussion, fractures, overuse injuries, and muscle or ligament tears and sprains.  With cooperation among coaches, officials, parents and young athletes themselves, strategies for safe play can be developed and implemented. Continue reading

Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) for Sleep Apnea

There are several treatment options available for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) including weight loss and behavior modification like changing sleep position or decreasing alcohol consumption. Oral devices have been successful and Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) breathing devices are common, and can be effective if used properly. However, some patients prefer a remedy that allows freedom from the burden of sleeping tethered to a machine for the rest of their lives.

A surgical procedure known as Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) is a viable first line treatment option for specific candidates who meet the criteria for success. Younger age, lower body mass index (BMI), and existing anatomical structure are a few of the patient characteristics that predict greater surgical success. Most patients who choose this treatment option report satisfaction with OSA-related quality of life measures and with the reduction of daytime sleepiness.

MMA surgery actually changes the shape of the patient’s airway. This action reduces the collapsibility of the upper airway space, which improves or resolves the OSA (American journal of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.)

Typical OSA symptoms of snoring and snorting, or the periodic interruptions in breathing which can leave the person gasping for air, are an annoyance to the patient and his or her partner. More importantly, these signs of sleep apnea are also linked to many serious health threats including heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, asthma, acid reflux and car accidents.

One measure used to grade the severity of OSA is the number of breathing cessations that occur per hour of sleep, known as the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). Another measure is the reduction in blood oxygen levels that result from these stoppages. It is essential for the OSA patient to familiarize himself with success rates and potential pitfalls of various treatment options. He should discuss all treatment alternatives with his trusted healthcare professionals so he is able to make an informed decision on his course of action.

MMA corrects particular craniomaxillofacial abnormalities that are a known cause of the condition. MMA enlarges the skeletal framework of the jaw, which then enlarges the narrowed airway. MMA has been used to treat OSA for about three decades. The surgical procedure, which moves the maxilla and mandible forward by approximately 10 millimeters, has been shown to result in a cure rate of 97% for OSA. Substantial and consistent reductions in the AHI were observed following MMA; adverse events were uncommonly reported. (Surgical Modifications of the Upper Airway for Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis; www.journalsleep.org)

What results determine whether or not a treatment is deemed successful? The patient’s self-reported resolution of the snoring and other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and acknowledgement of improved sleep quality are a major indication that the treatment was successful. Data showing a lower AHI score and restored oxyhemoglobin confirm the clinical results.

When performed by a skilled surgeon, MMA surgery is generally safe and highly effective for treating obstructive sleep apnea and its associated health risks. Corrective jaw surgery can deliver more predictable, permanent results by moving the lower jaw forward to relieve airway obstruction. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, schedule a consultation so we can discuss the best treatment plan. For more detailed information about MMA surgery visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941427/

picture crop Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) for Sleep ApneaKayvon Haghighi, DDS, MD, FACS is licensed to practice both medicine and dentistry in the state of New Jersey. Dr. Haghighi’s unique combination of surgical training and experience in facial reconstruction enables him to analyze your condition from multiple points of view.






Wake Up to the Perils of Excessive Daytime Sleepiness

bigstock Wake Up 52772422 Wake Up to the Perils of Excessive Daytime SleepinessHey, sleepyhead…wake up! If you suffer from sleep apnea (or another sleep disorder) and seem to be hearing this command frequently from colleagues or loved ones, you may be experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness. Take heart, though, you’re not alone. Nearly a quarter of us routinely feel so drowsy it negatively affects our work life, studies, leisure activities and interpersonal relationships.

More than a third of all adults, and up to half of younger adults, admit to sometimes nodding off during the day. Planned cat naps don’t count. These unintentional episodes of sleep may signal a chronic sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. In general, getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night is the ideal, but not nearly the norm for almost half of adults. Lack of concentration and impaired memory have been reported by roughly 20 percent of sleep-deprived adults.

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Prevention — The Best Policy for Avoiding Maxillofacial Injuries

seatbelts Prevention — The Best Policy for Avoiding Maxillofacial InjuriesMaxillofacial trauma can be extremely complex and intricate. Different regions of the face control critical functions like seeing, tasting, smelling, speaking and breathing.  Like the old adage advises, prevention of maxillofacial injury is truly the best medicine. Products and practices designed to safeguard the face are readily available, but sometimes people are distracted or forgetful and neglect to implement them. 

Automobile accidents are a major cause of facial injury. While wearing a seat belt in a car has become second nature to most of us, there are still some who find the restraints constricting and uncomfortable. Too often the consequence of not buckling up is facial injury. As the vehicle operator, the driver must set the standard by wearing a seatbelt.  Laws mandate and define the use of approved car seats for children. The child safety seat must be fastened in the back seat of the car according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Verify that each passenger is buckled in before proceeding.

Recreational sports injuries are another frequent cause of injury. Wearing appropriate protective mouth guards, masks, helmets or headgear for activities like mountain biking, skateboarding, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding and others is an important step toward prevention of harm. Be sure to wear a mouth protector when participating in contact sports. (A follow-up post will discuss recommended protective sports equipment in more detail.)

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CPAP’s Pickle of Noncompliance

bigstock Woman wearing CPAP machine for 64217995 CPAP’s Pickle of NoncomplianceWhen a sleep apnea diagnosis is given, chances are the patient will be advised to begin using a CPAP machine every night while sleeping. CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a commonly prescribed treatment for the episodes of interrupted breathing present in sleep apnea. The CPAP machine is a medical device that runs on electricity. It is placed next to the bed on a nightstand or table. There are three parts to a CPAP machine: a pump housed in a box about the size of a clock-radio; a long section of plastic hose or tubing; and a face mask designed to strap onto the patient’s head, covering his nose and mouth. 

The CPAP machine works by taking in air and pressurizing it. The pressurized-air then blows through a tube and mask into the patient’s throat. The pressure of the air keeps the patient’s throat open while he is sleeping. CPAP can be successful in treating sleep apnea when used correctly; however, there are many obstacles that lead to non-compliance among users and challenge the level of success. Continue reading