In Dr. Cox's oral surgery Nashville practice, Donelson Oral Surgery, the majority of the surgical procedures offered are performed right in the office by Dr. Donald Cox. More complicated procedures are done by Dr. Cox at Summit Medical Center.
Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are trained to administer local and general anesthesia in hospitals as well as in office settings. Monitoring vital signs during surgery and being trained in preparedness for emergencies make Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons qualified to safely administer all types of anesthesia.
Even for the simplest of procedures, I.V. sedation or general anesthesia can provide a very comfortable experience for the anxious patient. Dr. Cox will discuss your options of anesthetics available to make your surgical experience very pleasant.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to appear. In most cases, there is insufficient space for these teeth to fully erupt and be functional. If there is enough room for them to erupt and be cleaned and maintained, they can be retained. Unfortunately, this happens only ten percent of the time. When these teeth stay unerupted (impacted) or only partially exposed, they are prone to infection and pain; it also poses damage to adjacent teeth and pathology. Their removal in the late teen years or twenties is imperative to prevent these problems.
Because removal of wisdom teeth after age 30 has increased risk of complications such as "dry socket" or nerve damage, Dr. Cox only removes wisdom teeth if there are symptoms (pain, swelling, infection) or pathology to justify their removal. Your personal dentist will monitor these teeth on x-rays and advise you on their progress and need for removal. In most cases, their removal is accomplished in our office under general anesthesia.
The aspect of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery performed most, this procedure includes single and multiple teeth extractions, preparing the mouth for full and partial dentures and exposing and ligating impacted teeth for orthodontist to pull into position. Infected teeth can produce significant, life-altering pain. Dr. Cox can remove these teeth using various anesthetic techniques painlessly.
Removing teeth and preparing the gums for dentures can also be done in a single appointment. General anesthesia is usually indicated for this procedure and is often accomplished in an hour or less. Extra bony growths on the jaws make it impossible to wear prosthesis comfortably. These can be removed at the same time the teeth are removed.
Many young orthodontic patients have teeth that should erupt but for various reasons do not. Surgically exposing these teeth and placing a bracket and chain allows the orthodontist to move these teeth into the mouth and into their proper position.
Dental implants are titanium root forms placed in the jaw bones to replace missing teeth or to hold removable dentures in place. Dr. Cox has been placing implants for 42 years. Prior to 1980, many of the implants were not successful because of design flaws, but since the advent of titanium (the same material used in prosthetic joints), dental implants have become a very common and widespread replacement for missing teeth. They can be placed to replace a single missing tooth without disturbing the adjacent natural dentition, or they can be used as bridge anchors or for denture retention.
The surgery itself is painless and quickly accomplished, but time (generally three months) is necessary for the bone and implant to fuse before the implant can be restored or used. During this healing time, patients can function, chew and clean their teeth naturally. After three months, Dr. Cox can place the abutment, or your dentist will place it prior to constructing a crown. The abutment is the second stage of the implant on which the crown or the dentures are attached. Dr. Cox or his staff can answer any questions you might have regarding dental implants.
Dentists and Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are the professionals who check for, diagnose, and treat head and neck pathology more than any other health care professional because this is the area we see everyday on all of our patients. Patients can examine themselves easily when they brush their teeth; patients may also visit www.myoms.org to learn exactly how to do this.
Dr. Cox has 42 years of private practice experience examining and biopsying oral pathology and determining which lesions need biopsy and treatment. Tobacco and alcohol use predispose people to oral pathology, but those individuals not in this group can fall victim to head and neck cancers. Early detection is the key to a good outcome.