Conditions & Treatments
Georgia's primary referral center for oral surgery procedures
Emory's Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Atlanta, Georgia, is recognized as a regional center of excellence in the treatment or oral and maxillofacial disorders for adult and pediatric patients, from basic wisdom teeth removal to facial and jaw reconstruction. Division surgeons perform a wide variety of diagnostic, inpatient and outpatient services at The Emory Clinic, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta VA Medical Center and Grady Memorial Hospital.
Services and Procedures
State of the art treatment options performed by quality surgeons:
Dentoalveolar Surgery, Dental Implants and Wisdom Teeth Removal
These specialties focus on surgical management of diseases of the teeth and their supporting hard and soft tissues. Wisdom teeth removal, the most common procedure of this type, can be performed by all division surgeons and is typically done with the patient under sedation in the Emory Clinic office. Other dentoalveolar procedures include apicoectomy (the removal of the root tip and surrounding infected tissue of an abscessed tooth) and soft tissue procedures such as frenectomy (the removal of the fold of tissue that passes from the lip or cheek to the gum).
Dental implants are small titanium, metal posts surgically anchored into the jaw and are becoming the primary method of replacing problematic, damaged or missing teeth. They ultimately become firm through a process called osseointegration, providing a secure platform for an artificial replacement tooth (crown).
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Surgery
The temporomandibular joint is the connecting hinge mechanism between the base of the skull (temporal bone) and the lower jaw (mandible). Pathologic conditions affecting this region can make fully opening the mouth painful and extremely difficult, causing head and earaches, popping sounds in the jaw and other types of facial discomfort. Surgery is recommended only when a precise cause of the particular disorder has been identified and conservative medical options have failed. Three types of TMJ surgery are practiced at Emory:
- Arthroscopic surgery: Performed using a very small arthroscope (camera) and instruments. Disk displacement and joint adhesions can be treated using this approach.
- Open joint procedure (arthoplasty): Involves accessing the temporomandibular joint through an incision in a skin crease in front of the ear. Usually used to repair the disk or strengthen a hypermobile (loose) joint.
- Total joint replacement: Reserved for severe and chronic conditions that haven't responded to other surgical methods. The deformed or degenerated joint is removed and replaced with a TMJ prosthesis custom-designed for each patient. Emory oral and maxillofacial surgeons are among the limited number of surgeons in Georgia with experience in this procedure.
Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery, Craniomaxillofacial Deformities
Procedures for cleft lip and palate include primary lip repair, palate closure and alveolar cleft bone grafting. Patients often benefit from orthognathic surgery as well.
For craniomaxillofacial deformities such as cleft lip/palate deformities, hemifacial microsomia and Crouzons/Aperts Syndrome, the staging of reconstructive procedures is based on age.
Facial and Jaw Reconstruction, Bone Grafts to the Maxilla or Mandible
Bone grafting and other techniques can restore function and appearance to bones of the face and jaw affected by trauma, congenital facial deformities or bone loss secondary to resection of tumors. Reconstruction and removal procedures may often be done at the same time.
Emory maintains one of the busiest orthognathic practices in the southeast. This method of corrective surgery adjusts facial asymmetries caused by abnormalities of the jaw bones that can adversely affect chewing, speaking and jaw function. The facial bones are often secured by miniature titanium plates and screws. Division surgeons work closely with community orthodontists to achieve facial balance and a correct bite or occlusion.
Evaluation and Surgical Management of Nerve Injuries
Surgical management of injuries to the lingual or inferior alveolar nerve may result in decreased pain and increased function for those patients that have a numb or painful lip or tongue following extraction of third molars.
Management of Maxillofacial Pathology
Division surgeons are able to perform a variety of procedures to treat the benign and malignant conditions specific to the oral cavity, such as ameloblastomas, large cysts of dental origin, ulcerative disorders, infections, oral manifestations of systemic diseases, osseous pathology of the jaws, oral manifestations of immunodeficiency and malignant conditions like squamous cell carcinoma.
Maxillofacial Trauma Surgery
Emory is one of the leading centers specializing in the surgical management of traumatic facial fractures and injuries to teeth, oral tissues, facial soft tissues and any resultant facial scarring.
Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Division surgeons are trained to manage pediatric oral and maxillofacial conditions caused by pathology, trauma, growth disturbances and such craniomaxillofacial anomalies as cleft lip and palate deformity. Procedures and treatment are performed at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
Patients with developmental or acquired deformity of the jaws and craniofacial region who cannot tolerate even a well constructed prosthesis (i.e. dental implants or dentures) are candidates for preprosthetic surgery, which renovates the problematic region so that a prosthesis can be applied. Standard procedures offered at Emory include:
- Ridge (jaw) augmentation: In severe cases where the ridge of the gum has been reabsorbed, a bone graft is placed to increase the ridge height and/or width.
- Sinus lift procedure: Involving elevation of the sinus membrane, bone grafting on the sinus floor and implants placed in the back part of the upper jaw.
Surgery for Sleep Apnea/Excessive Snoring
Sleep apnea, caused by an obstruction related to abnormalities of the soft palate, uvula, nose, tonsils, adenoids or base of the tongue, is characterized by intermittent cessation of breathing while sleeping. Treatment options are provided by the division’s surgeons and include non-surgical management with an oral appliance that fits over the teeth (Klerway appliance). Surgical options range from laser surgery to reshape the soft palate to advancement surgery for the jaw or jaw and chin. Division surgeons have worked with many of Atlanta's sleep centers and sleep physicians to provide stepwise surgical management for this common and potentially serious condition.
IV Sedation and General Anesthesia
To maximize patient comfort and minimize patient anxiety, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specifically trained and certified to perform either intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia for office based surgery.
For more information, please call 404-778-4500
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