Dentists refer patients to another provider when the patient requires specialized care. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the experts in performing surgical procedures to the head, neck, mouth, and face. Many oral surgeons work alongside other members of a patient’s care team to create a treatment plan, perform surgery, and monitor progress.
Dr. Robert B. Ioppolo is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon who diagnoses, manages, and treats many conditions for both children and adults. At Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock, our team cares for many patients who are referred by their general dentist. However, a referral is not necessary to schedule an appointment.
A general dentist is often the first professional to identify an issue that requires treatment. Some conditions can be managed by dentists, such as simple tooth extractions, cleanings, and preventive care. Treatment beyond a dentist’s scope, however, requires the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. There are several reasons why your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon.
Wisdom teeth are large and sometimes remain trapped beneath the gums, known as impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth cannot naturally erupt into the dental arch and must be surgically removed, usually involving IV sedation, making oral surgeons the most qualified specialists to perform this procedure. Even if all of the wisdom teeth erupt, anesthesia may still be necessary for multiple extractions, which would require an oral surgeon’s expertise.
General dentists do not receive the training necessary to place dental implants. During their residency training, oral surgeons learn how to place dental implants for patients with a variety of restorative needs. Dental implant surgery typically requires sedation, which oral surgeons can safely administer. Whereas dentists typically use traditional 2D X-rays, oral surgeons use 3D imaging technology and can map out the exact details of implant placement, increasing accuracy and resulting in highly predictable outcomes.
Many general dentists use local anesthesia to numb only the treatment area during fillings or simple tooth extractions. Some dentists undergo additional training to offer more anesthetic options, but oral surgeons are the only dental professionals who are trained and qualified to administer all forms of anesthesia and sedation. If a patient requires laughing gas, IV sedation, or general anesthesia for any type of oral surgery procedure, an oral surgeon can ensure their comfort while monitoring health and safety.
Some patients lack sufficient jaw bone to receive dental implants. Oral surgeons can perform many different types of bone grafting treatments to repair the jaw bone and help patients qualify for implant placement. Bone grafting is also sometimes necessary if a patient experiences facial trauma or any condition that causes bone loss. Dr. Ioppolo can perform socket preservation, sinus lift, ridge augmentation, and major bone grafting to restore health and integrity to the face and jaw.
The jaws must align properly in order to function. In some cases, orthodontics alone cannot correct the issue and jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is necessary. During this procedure, an oral surgeon will carefully reposition the jaw, and orthodontics will straighten the teeth afterward. Other providers may refer patients to an oral surgeon for jaw surgery to treat facial tumors or cysts, chronic facial pain, severe TMJ disorders, and more.
When you and your loved ones need oral surgery, you can depend on Dr. Ioppolo and his team to provide the highest standard of care. Dr. Ioppolo is board-certified and offers the full scope of oral surgery treatments for patients of all ages. Contact Hill & Ioppolo Oral & Dental Implant Surgery of Lubbock to schedule your consultation at our office in Lubbock, TX.