Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah
If you need a bone graft, is laughing gas the best anesthesia option for you?
For bone grafting and other oral surgery procedures, you have several dental anesthesia options, and the choice is typically yours to make, based on the recommendation of your oral surgeon.
Many patients here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah prefer laughing gas, otherwise known as nitrous oxide. Could this be the right anesthesia for your bone graft procedure? You’ll have to consult with the oral surgeon to make the final determination.
Advantages of Laughing Gas
Laughing gas is a quick and easy dental anesthesia to administer. For sedation, you simply slip on a breathing mask and inhale. Nitrous oxide has no taste or odor, so the experience isn’t unpleasant.
Once inhaled, nitrous oxide erases fear and anxiety, replacing it with a general feeling of well-being. You’ll feel relaxed and comfortable during the bone graft procedure, as the gas alters your perception of time and pain. The effects are mild and the anesthesia wears off when the breathing mask is removed.
Disadvantages of Laughing Gas
As the name suggests, laughing gas might make you laugh. In fact, some patients get a case of the giggles under this form of dental anesthesia. The laughter won’t bother your oral surgeon, but there’s a possibility you could find it a bit embarrassing.
In addition, some patients find the breathing mask used to administer nitrous oxide uncomfortable. The gas mixture can also bring on a hallucinatory dream state. And there’s a slight chance that nitrous oxide could make you feel dizzy or nauseous, but this will dissipate when the anesthesia dosage is adjusted.
Choosing the Right Anesthesia for Your Bone Graft Procedure
Before you come in for your bone graft, your oral surgeon will help you decide on the right type of anesthesia to provide you with a comfortable, pain-free experience.
If you want a mild dental anesthesia but you feel uneasy about using nitrous oxide, oral sedation can be a good option. Taken in pill form, this type of dental anesthesia will make you feel drowsy, relaxed and anxiety-free, but you’ll still be conscious and able to respond during the bone graft procedure.
On the other hand, if you’d rather be fully unaware that the bone graft is taking place, you may want to choose intravenous (IV) sedation. Also known as “twilight sleep,” IV anesthesia will make you feel as if you’re sleeping and you probably won’t remember the procedure once it wears off.
If laughing gas is your preferred method of dental anesthesia, your oral surgeon will make sure it is a safe option. After all, along with your comfort, safety is the primary concern and nitrous oxide isn’t suited for every patient.
When you’re ready to talk about anesthesia, make an appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield are trained and certified to administer all forms of dental anesthesia, and our professional team is known for compassionate, expert care.
Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to learn more about your choices of anesthesia for a bone graft procedure.
Jun 25th, 2018 4:47 pm
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You may think your child should get dental implant surgery if they fall and lose a tooth.
But unfortunately, this method of tooth replacement is not viable for young patients. Although any healthy adult may be a candidate for dental implants, children need an alternative method of tooth replacement.
Why Dental Implants Aren’t Right for Children
The reason kids can’t have dental implants has to do with jawbone development. Fusion with the bone, a process called osseointegration, is what makes dental implants permanent.
Before implants can be placed, the jaw must be fully grown; otherwise, serious complications can arise. If the jawbone is still growing, tooth implants can become crooked and prevent the natural teeth from erupting in their proper positions. Or, as jaw growth continues, the implants may become submerged compared to the natural teeth.
The bottom line is that children can’t get dental implants because their jawbones aren’t fully developed.
How Old Do Kids Have to Be for Dental Implant Surgery?
Every child is different, so the age at which implant surgery can take place isn’t set in stone.
To determine whether implant surgery is viable for your child, an oral surgeon relies on X-rays of the growth plates in the wrist. These plates become thinner and eventually disappear as growth continues. So if they’re gone, your child is old enough for dental implants.
Girls may be ready for implants as early as age 14 or 15. Jawbone growth finishes later in boys, so most young men must wait until at least age 17 before having implant surgery.
What if Your Child Isn’t Old Enough for Dental Implants?
If your child loses a tooth and isn’t old enough for dental implant surgery, you have a few options.
- A flipper — Otherwise known as a removable partial denture, this dental appliance has an artificial tooth attached to a gum-toned acrylic base.
- A bonded bridge — This tooth replacement is fixed in place using metal or resin to attach the artificial tooth to the natural teeth on both sides of the gap.
- Orthodontic treatment — In some cases, an artificial tooth can be attached to an orthodontic wire or cemented to a retainer.
Which is the best tooth replacement method for your child? And when will your child be ready for dental implants? Those questions are best answered by an experienced oral surgeon. In the greater Salt Lake City area, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are the go-to professionals for replacing missing teeth for patients of all ages.
As highly trained, board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield understand the challenges of early tooth loss in children and can explain your options. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, Tooele or South Jordan office today to schedule a consultation to discuss tooth replacement options and dental implant surgery for kids.
Jun 21st, 2018 7:27 pm
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It’s natural to be apprehensive about an upcoming oral surgery. But here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, our friendly professional team will do everything we can to ease your concerns and ensure you have a smooth and speedy recovery.
Follow your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions — which will be provided before the procedure — and you should have nothing to worry about.
Take it Easy
Strenuous activity is off-limits after oral surgery, as plenty of rest is essential for proper healing. Avoid overexerting yourself — no bending, heavy lifting or exercising for at least three days. And stay away from sports until you get the go-ahead from your oral surgeon.
Take Your Medication
Whether your oral surgeon recommends taking over-the-counter or prescription medication, follow their advice. Make sure not to skip any doses and your post-surgical discomfort should be minimal.
Use Ice & Heat Packs
For the first two days following your oral surgery, use ice packs to reduce swelling and discomfort — alternate face sides and apply for 20 to 30 minutes, on and off. On day three, stop using ice and switch to warm packs.
Stick to Liquids & Soft Foods
Consuming only liquids and soft foods for at least a day or two is important for a problem-free oral surgery recovery. Steer clear of hard and crunchy foods, and don’t drink from a straw until the surgical site is healed.
Keep Your Mouth Clean
Once 24 hours have passed, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Rinsing several times each day keeps your mouth clean and may help with pain relief.
As for tooth brushing, be gentle and avoid the surgical site until it has fully healed.
Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol
Oral surgeons advise patients not to smoke or drink alcohol after oral surgery because it can slow the healing process and boost the risk of infection. For the smoothest and speediest recovery, refrain from smoking and drinking for as long as possible after your procedure.
Follow All Oral Surgery Aftercare Instructions
Your oral surgeon may have additional aftercare instructions pertaining to your particular procedure. You might, for example, need to sleep on your back with your head elevated. Or you may be restricted to consuming only cold liquids for a few days. Follow every instruction to give yourself the best chance at a successful recovery.
The professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, a leader in the greater Salt Lake City area for more than a decade, are committed to providing expert care. Giving every patient a positive surgical experience is our goal.
Whether you’re coming in for dental implants, wisdom tooth extraction, corrective jaw surgery or any other procedure, our experienced oral surgeons and professional treatment team will take every possible step to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery. To learn more, contact our South Jordan, Tooele or Cottonwood Heights office today to schedule an oral surgery consultation.
Jun 21st, 2018 4:49 pm
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Tags: After Oral Surgery
After a wisdom tooth extraction, some patients face an increased risk of complications, the most common of which is dry socket.
Dry socket is a painful condition also known as alveolar osteitis. It is characterized by dull, throbbing pain that typically lasts for four to eight days. Fortunately, not everyone who gets their third molars removed suffers dry socket. If you follow your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions, your recovery should be smooth and complication-free.
Understanding what puts you at an increased risk for dry socket can also boost your chances of avoiding it.
What Causes Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Immediately after wisdom tooth removal, a blood clot forms at the extraction site. This clot plays an important role in recovery, shielding the exposed nerves and bone. In a normal tooth extraction recovery, soft tissue and bone grow to cover the clot and seal the gums.
In a patient with alveolar osteitis, the blood clot is lost before the empty socket can be permanently sealed with soft tissue and bone. The extraction site is left exposed, which creates pain and delays healing.
Risk Factors for Dry Socket
Anyone who undergoes wisdom tooth extraction can develop alveolar osteitis. In fact, the simple act of sucking on a straw is enough to dislodge the blood clot.
Certain factors can also increase the risk of suffering from this complication. Patients who are more likely to experience alveolar osteitis include those who:
- Have impacted wisdom teeth or have had difficult tooth extractions
- Smoke or use other forms of tobacco
- Take oral contraceptives
- Have poor oral hygiene habits
- Have current or previous infections
Preventing Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions is a crucial step for preventing alveolar osteitis. To sidestep this complication, oral surgeons advise their patients to:
- Avoid spitting and rinsing the mouth vigorously.
- Minimize physical activity for about a week after tooth extraction.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco use for as long as possible.
- Drink from a cup, rather than through a straw.
- Steer clear of hot liquids, such as coffee and soup.
- Stick to soft foods until the gums have fully healed.
Some patients may also benefit from taking an oral antibiotic before wisdom tooth removal. In addition, using an antibacterial mouthwash or gel before and after the procedure may be recommended.
Dry Socket Treatment
Alveolar osteitis has no quick cure. Treatment typically involves managing the pain while the socket heals.
After gently irrigating the socket to clear away debris, your oral surgeon will cover the extraction site with an analgesic medicated dressing for immediate pain relief. The packing may need to be replaced every couple of days until recovery is complete. For ongoing pain management, your surgeon may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or prescription medication.
If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, the treatment team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah will do everything possible to ensure you have an easy, complication-free recovery.
Having served the greater Salt Lake City area for more than a decade, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah has become known for providing expert care with a friendly, compassionate touch. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation to discuss wisdom tooth extraction.
Jun 13th, 2018 8:47 pm
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It’s never too late to get dental implants.
Many patients believe they’re either too old or their teeth are too far gone for implants to be viable. We’re happy to say, however, that no cut-off date or milestone exists for restoring your healthy smile.
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you have had missing teeth. As long as you are healthy enough to have routine dental work done, you are likely to be a good candidate for dental implants.
Age Is Not a Deciding Factor for Dental Implants
Dental implant surgery is a safe and effective method of tooth replacement for adults of any age.
Contrary to popular belief, older patients are not more likely to suffer complications or implant failure. In fact, the success rate for healthy people over the age of 80 is nearly identical to that for younger patients. So age is no reason to give up on the idea of getting dental implant surgery.
Many of our patients choose implants as an alternative to uncomfortable or ill-fitting dentures. They’re delighted to have permanent replacement teeth that fit, feel and function just like their natural teeth.
Dental Implants Are Effective Even Years After Tooth Loss
Most patients get their replacement teeth immediately, but dental implant surgery can be just as effective years later.
Patients who have been living with missing teeth for months or years may have suffered significant bone loss in the jaw, however. So before placing implants in patients with long-term tooth loss, your oral surgeon can restore any lost structural stability in the jaw using a simple bone graft procedure.
Should You Get Dental Implant Surgery?
Dental implants offer a host of advantages over other tooth replacement methods like bridges and dentures. However, despite all their benefits, they won’t necessarily be right for every patient.
Anyone suffering from a chronic health condition such as diabetes, leukemia or osteoporosis may find the recovery period difficult. In addition, patients who smoke are advised to quit, at least temporarily, to ensure proper healing.
Ultimately, the best way to decide on the ideal method of tooth replacement is to consult with an experienced oral surgeon.
If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Our highly trained, board-certified oral surgeons have extensive expertise in tooth restoration and can help you select the best approach to restoring your smile. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a dental implant consultation.
Jun 4th, 2018 8:24 pm
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Have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?
One of the most common sleep apnea treatments is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. However, oral surgery is another option to consider.
Many patients struggle to use a CPAP machine and simply prefer to fix the problem once and for all with oral surgery.
CPAP Machine Pros & Cons
Using a CPAP machine at night can reduce snoring and provide better-quality sleep. With regular use, daytime sleepiness is often greatly diminished.
Unfortunately, CPAP machines come with several drawbacks. Common complaints include:
- Lack of comfort — Some patients can’t bear to wear the CPAP mask, as they find it uncomfortable or even claustrophobic.
- Skin irritation — Wearing a CPAP mask can create abrasions and make the facial skin sore.
- Dry mouth — CPAP machines blow dry air into the mouth, and many OSA patients sleep with their mouths open.
- Nasal congestion — The flow of pressurized air from a CPAP machine can dry out the nasal passages, leading to chronic congestion.
Many of these issues can be solved by switching to a different CPAP mask or machine. But for some OSA patients, using other masks and machines isn’t an effective approach.
Sleep Apnea Oral Surgery Pros & Cons
Oral surgery is the only OSA treatment that addresses the underlying cause of this condition. Surgical treatment enlarges the airway, and for many patients, the procedure offers a permanent solution to sleep apnea.
However, oral surgery isn’t always effective. For patients with severe OSA, surgical treatment can be less successful. And for anyone with a serious medical condition or disease, surgery may not be advisable.
Body weight is also a factor in the success of OSA surgery. Generally, patients who are close to their ideal weight, or those who weigh less than 125 percent of that number, see more beneficial surgical outcomes.
Deciding Between Sleep Apnea Treatments
No single treatment is right for every OSA patient. Oral surgery can permanently correct the problem for most patients, but it isn’t always a viable option.
Deciding on the best approach to treating your OSA isn’t a task you should try to take on yourself. To determine whether oral surgery could help you, consult with a local oral surgeon with expertise in managing obstructive sleep apnea.
If you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, the professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can offer expert advice to help you overcome the challenges of living with OSA.
Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the highly trained, board-certified oral surgeons here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, have extensive experience in OSA management and can help you explore your options. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule a consultation to discuss sleep apnea treatments and oral surgery.
Jun 4th, 2018 5:43 pm
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Has your oral surgeon recommended corrective jaw surgery? If so, don’t be afraid to seek out a second opinion.
Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, our professional team understands when our patients want second opinions. In fact, we often suggest it ourselves. As much as we’re confident in our treatment advice, we also want our patients to have the peace of mind of knowing they’re getting the best possible care.
Why Is a Second Opinion a Good Idea Before Jaw Surgery?
Corrective jaw procedures often require orthodontics both before and after surgery. This kind of major work can take years to complete, and the long-term commitment can have a dramatic impact on your life.
Getting a second opinion can help you make an informed choice about oral and maxillofacial surgery. You probably wouldn’t make other serious decisions — like buying a house or car — without first talking it over with a family member, friend or financial advisor.
The decision on whether to proceed with any major surgery should be made with the same careful consideration.
How Do You Find an Oral Surgeon for a Second Opinion?
The easiest way to find another local oral and maxillofacial surgeon with expertise in corrective jaw surgery is to ask your current surgeon for a referral.
If you are not comfortable with the idea of telling your oral surgeon that you want to get a second expert opinion, you can always ask your dentist or primary care physician for a recommendation. Or get a list of qualified professionals from your state medical board or insurance company.
What if the Oral Surgeons Don’t Agree About Jaw Surgery?
Most often, both oral surgeons will have the same opinion regarding corrective jaw work. Sometimes, however, their recommended treatment approaches differ.
If you get two differing opinions, you may want to check with a third expert before making a decision on jaw surgery. You can also try speaking with either or both of the oral surgeons again, discussing the treatment plans in greater detail. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but talking more about the jaw procedures can help you fully understand your options.
Does your oral surgeon think you need corrective jaw surgery? Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the highly experienced board-certified surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, can provide you with an expert second opinion. And with three Salt Lake City area locations — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — visiting us couldn’t be easier or more convenient.
Our professional team is also happy to help you find other knowledgeable oral surgeons in the area who are qualified to provide treatment advice. For more advice, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah today. Getting a second opinion is always a good idea before scheduling corrective jaw surgery.
May 31st, 2018 5:05 pm
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For an experienced oral surgeon, tooth extractions are routine. And following the procedure with replacement teeth is equally straightforward. But for patients, that’s not always the case.
When you visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for a consultation, our professional team will take the time to address all your concerns. We want you to have a positive, comfortable experience, so we provide explanations, answers and advice.
Are Replacement Teeth Always Needed After Tooth Extractions?
No, tooth replacement isn’t a must after every extraction.
When the wisdom teeth are removed, there’s no need for tooth replacement. The third molars may have been an advantage to our ancestors, but these teeth aren’t necessary in today’s world.
For any other tooth extractions, however, replacement is typically recommended.
Why Are Replacement Teeth Important for Many Tooth Extractions?
Living with missing teeth can bring on a host of oral health problems.
When a tooth is extracted, the neighboring teeth can start to shift into the gap. Eventually, the movement can make the smile look crooked and the bite feel misaligned. Bone tissue in the jaw begins to break down and added stress on the joint can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, or TMD.
Tooth replacement can prevent these dental difficulties, while also giving patients confidence in their smiles.
What Are the Options for Replacement Teeth?
Patients who need tooth replacement have three options: dental implants, fixed bridges and removable partial dentures.
Partial dentures are usually the least expensive choice for tooth replacement, but they can be a hassle to clean. In addition, removable dentures are less stable than fixed bridges and dental implants, so many patients find them to be uncomfortable.
Fixed bridges offer better stability than removable partial dentures, and the replacement teeth seem much like natural teeth. But placing a bridge involves cutting down the healthy teeth on both sides of the gap — which puts them at a greater risk of decay and infection.
Dental implants are considered the gold standard option for tooth replacement. Implants look, feel and function just like natural teeth, and placement doesn’t affect the neighboring teeth. And because dental implants fuse with the jawbone, they help prevent future bone loss. The same can’t be said for either partial dentures or fixed bridges.
Plus, with proper care — daily brushing and flossing, along with regular oral health examinations — dental implants can last for a lifetime. Removable partial dentures and fixed bridges, on the other hand, typically need to be replaced at least every 10 to 15 years.
If you have more questions about tooth extractions and tooth replacement, call on the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
Our highly trained, board-certified oral surgeons are tooth replacement specialists with more than a decade of experience. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Toole office today to schedule a consultation to learn more about tooth extractions and replacement teeth options.
May 30th, 2018 4:06 pm
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Oral cancer can pose a serious health risk. Consequently, many patients become concerned when they develop unusual spots or sores in the mouth.
Although ulcers and lesions in the mouth are often canker sores — which are relatively harmless — some can be oral cancer. Finding a sore in your mouth can be scary, and you may not know whether to schedule a professional evaluation or to take the wait-and-see approach.
Knowing the differences between canker sores and oral cancer can help, but if you have any doubt, it’s advisable to schedule a visit with your oral surgeon.
Identifying Canker Sores
Pain is the defining difference between canker sores and oral cancer — cancerous lesions are usually painless. Plus, in most cases, canker sores go away on their own within a week or two.
The strange spot in your mouth is probably a canker sore if it’s:
- Small and shallow
- Round or oval-shaped
- White or yellow with a red border
Keep in mind that not every canker sore is painful, and some sores can take six weeks or longer to fully heal.
Signs of Oral Cancer
Unlike a canker sore, a cancerous ulcer won’t heal on its own.
Other signs of oral cancer to watch out for include:
- Mouth sores that bleed
- White, red or mottled patches
- Thickened tissues or lumps
- Numbness anywhere in the mouth
- Stiffness, pain and swelling in the jaw
- Prolonged sore throat or hoarseness
- Feeling like something is caught in the throat
- Loose teeth with no apparent cause
- Poorly fitting dentures
When caught during the initial stages, cancer is highly treatable. So if symptoms persist for more than two weeks, seek out professional care.
When to Visit Your Oral Surgeon
If you notice a strange spot in your mouth and you’re concerned that it might not be a canker sore, make an appointment with your oral surgeon as soon as possible. A professional evaluation can either rule out cancer or put you on the path to treatment.
You should also schedule a visit if you experience unusually large canker sores or recurring outbreaks. Extreme pain and difficulty eating or drinking are also signs that you need to see an oral surgeon. In addition, professional care is a must if you suspect your sores may be triggered by dental appliances or sharp tooth surfaces.
If you believe you need to have a mouth sore checked by an experienced local oral surgeon, schedule an appointment with either Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
Our board-certified oral surgeons have extensive experience in identifying and treating a wide range of oral health conditions. For expert diagnosis and professional, compassionate care, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule an oral cancer screening.
May 29th, 2018 4:04 pm
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Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a host of problems, ranging from minor annoyances to serious threats to your oral health.
However, if you haven’t had an oral health examination for some time, you might not be aware of what’s going on with your third molars. If you can recognize the signs of potential wisdom tooth impaction, you can seek out the recommended treatment before you develop serious problems.
Common Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When the third molars are impacted, it means they’re stuck in the gums and cannot erupt completely.
Wisdom tooth impaction doesn’t always create obvious symptoms — some patients are unaware they have a problem until they see the X-rays. However, many patients with impacted teeth share common symptoms such as:
- Swollen, red or bleeding gums
- Tenderness and pain at the tooth site
- Swelling and discomfort in the jaw
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Foul breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
Treatment for Impacted Wisdom Teeth
For patients suffering from the symptoms of wisdom tooth impaction, extraction is the recommended treatment. Removing impacted teeth is an in-office procedure done under anesthesia. In most cases, oral surgeons allow patients to choose oral sedation, laughing gas or intravenous (IV) anesthesia.
Tooth extraction is also the recommended treatment for patients with impacted teeth that aren’t yet causing symptoms or problems.
Impaction can lead to a series of related dental problems, including decay, gum disease, infection, cyst formation and damage to other teeth. Because of these increased oral health risks, oral surgeons almost never advise patients to keep impacted third molars in place.
Can Wisdom Tooth Impaction Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, no, wisdom tooth impaction cannot be prevented. No dentist or oral surgeon has the magic to make third molars emerge properly.
That said, keeping regular appointments for oral health checkups and cleanings allows your dental professional to monitor the growth and eruption of your wisdom teeth. And if your X-rays indicate tooth impaction, the third molars can be removed before any symptoms start to develop.
Are your wisdom teeth showing signs of impaction? Or are you due for a regular oral health examination? For expert care in the greater Salt Lake City area, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.
With more than 10 years of experience, our board-certified oral surgeons are specialists in wisdom tooth management. With offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, making an appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is easy and convenient. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn more about seeking treatment for impacted wisdom teeth.
May 24th, 2018 2:14 am
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