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All Posts in Category: News & Events

Quarterly Newsletter

Each quarter we will be creating a newsletter with updates on our practice to keep our referring offices and patients up-to-date. See the latest one below:

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Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are a bit of a mystery. Why do we have teeth that almost everyone should have taken out? Well, the function of wisdom teeth dates back to our early ancestors.

Our earliest ancestors survived on a diet of coarse, tough food (such as meat, nuts, roots, leaves and berries), which required more chewing power and caused excessive wear of the teeth. In order to be able to eat these foods necessary for survival, they needed a broader jaw and strong molars. A broader jaw was able to accommodate the wisdom teeth and allowed them to erupt into the mouth normally.

Today’s diet is much softer and is prepared differently (cut, diced, boiled, baked, etc.), which makes eating a lot easier and there is no longer a need for wisdom teeth. It is believed that our jawline has become less broad and smaller over the years because of this change in food preparation and consumption, and now all 32 teeth cannot fit properly.

Wisdom teeth begin forming around 10 years old and are the last teeth to develop, so they don’t usually erupt until between the ages of 17 and 25. Since this is the age that people are said to become wiser, the set of third molars were given the nickname, “wisdom teeth”.

As wisdom teeth form, they often become impacted and cannot fully erupt since they are blocked by other teeth around them. Or, if they erupt, they can crowd the other teeth. It is also very hard to clean these teeth, so any food that gets trapped can lead to bacteria growth and even a serious infection. Some people have wisdom teeth that develop and function just like every other tooth in the mouth. However, it is possible that complications will occur later on, especially since these teeth are so far back in the mouth that proper care is difficult. It is strongly recommended to have them extracted to prevent any future issues and to help with long-term health.

Surgeons suggest that patients have their wisdom teeth removed as a young adult since the roots are only about two-thirds formed between the ages of 15 to 18. There are also higher risks for complications, more difficult surgeries, and longer healing times when people over the age of 35 have them removed.

If you are interested in scheduling wisdom teeth surgery or have any questions, give us a call at 843-762-9028. 

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The Dental Implant Recovery Process

Our patients always ask, “What is the recovery time and process for implants?” We work hard to make sure that all of our patients have the smoothest and quickest recovery possible so that they can get back to a normal life. This is possible by following just a few simple steps!

Time
After getting one or more dental implants, the recovery is significantly short and a lot of patients are actually able to go to work the next day. However, recovery time depends on how the procedure went, how well you take care of yourself after, and how your body reacts to the implant. Usually, it will take about 5 to 7 days for all of the symptoms to subside. However, some patients may experience a longer recovery time due to certain factors, such as a history of health problems, the number of implants placed and if a sinus lift or bone graft was needed.

The longest part of the recovery process is during the Osseointegration phase, which takes about 2 to 4 months. Osseointegration derives from the Greek word, osteon (bone), and the Latin word, integrate (to make whole). This means that the bone fuses to the implant to become stable enough to hold a tooth on it. Once this process is finished, the dental implant is ready for a crown to be attached.

Process
After surgery, some bleeding or redness is normal for 24 hours. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by biting on a gauze pad placed directly on the bleeding wound for 30 minutes. Do not keep the same roll of gauze in longer than 30 minutes and the maximum amount of time using gauze should be 3 hours total.

Swelling is also a normal occurrence after surgery. To minimize swelling, apply an ice pack, small plastic bag of ice or a towel filled with ice on the cheek. Apply the ice in 30 minute increments (on and off) for the first 24 hours after surgery.

Do not disturb the wound. Avoid spitting, or touching the wound for a few days after surgery. You may brush your teeth regularly, but be cautious when brushing near the surgical sites. Healing abutments can be brushed like normal teeth. However, if the area is tender, avoid doing so initially.

Warm salt water rinses can be made by mixing ½ teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and should be used at least 4-5 times a day, especially after meals.

Keep physical activities to a minimum for several days following surgery. Avoid bending over, and heavy lifting or straining. Keep in mind that you are probably not taking normal nourishment. This may weaken you and further limit your ability to exercise.

Diet

Drink plenty of fluids! Soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, applesauce, and ice cream can be eaten on the day of surgery. Avoid hot liquids or food. You may return to a normal diet 1 to 2 days after surgery unless otherwise directed by your oral surgeon.

We hope this helps you know what to expect after your dental implant surgery. If you use these suggestions along with your oral surgeons specific recommendations, your road to recovery will be an easy one! Please call our office if you have any questions: 843-762-9028.

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All About Bone Grafting

A bone graft is commonly necessary when a person is getting dental implants but their jaw bone has resorbed and is no longer strong enough to support an implant.

What causes bone loss, resulting in the need for bone grafting?

  • Once a tooth is lost or extracted, bone naturally resorbs (or shrinks away) if left untreated. When the bone isn’t holding a tooth in place, the body automatically believes it doesn’t need the jaw bone and the bone starts to disappear.
  • If a patient has sustained an injury that has caused damage to their jaw bone, such as an accident or fall.
  • Dental trauma, such as persistent grinding and clenching teeth, can cause excess wear on the tissue supporting tooth structure.
  • Periodontal disease can cause bone to disintegrate which can lead to tooth loss. The bacteria slowly eat away at the jawbone and periodontal ligament, which connect teeth to bone.
  • Congenital diseases that cause patients to have less jaw bone than normal.

How do I know if I need a bone graft?
A CT scan provides detailed images of your bone. Your surgeon will read the scan to determine if bone grafting is necessary.

Does bone grafting hurt?
Your surgeon will discuss sedation and anesthesia options to make you as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure.

How long does a bone graft take?
Generally, it takes several months for a bone graft to integrate with existing bone. Eventually, when a dental implant in placed in the area, it will also ossify to the surrounding bone and create a permanent solution your missing tooth/teeth.

Can a bone graft be done at the same time as a dental implant?
If only a small bone graft is needed, it may be possible for one of our surgeons to place an implant at the same time. Then, everything ossifies together, and once this process is complete, the crown can be placed.
How much does bone grafting cost?
Many insurances cover some of the cost of bone grafting if it is determined to be medically necessary. Pricing depends on the extent of the bone graft and what kind is used.

What can I expect after the operation?
The healing process depends on your unique situation. It is normal to experience some pain, which can typically be relieved with an over-the-counter pain killer such as ibuprofen and ice. You may also need to take a round of antibiotics to help fight against infection. A soft diet is generally recommended, especially in the first few days of recovery. You will be provided with detailed instructions to help with the recovery process.

If you have questions about a dental bone grafting, need a dental implant, or would like to schedule a consultation, please call our office at 843-762-9028.

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3D Imaging: How Does the Patient Benefit?

Dental technology has been constantly changing and improving to help provide the best care possible to patients. One of the most exciting and important developments in dental technology is 3D Imaging. This advancement allows your surgeon to see your mouth in a way that is not possible with X-ray or medical CT scan technology. Therefore, they are able to better diagnose each patient and provide more effective treatment.

3D Imaging works with a cone beam computed tomography machine (CBCT) which provides a high-quality 3D image of patients’ mouths. The surgeon is able to see the entire mouth and skull in extreme detail and visualize important anatomy and bone quantities to prepare for procedures such as implants, bone grafts, and more.

  • Less exposure to radiation: compared to traditional medical CT scans, 3D CBCT scans release significantly less radiation.
  • Image accuracy: 3D CBCT imaging provides highly accurate and measurable images because of its amazing resolution, giving your surgeon the ability to identify the exact location for a dental procedure.
  • Diagnostic accuracy: 3D scans can help find problems that 2D scans cannot, especially through the ability to differentiate between many types of tissue. Abnormal sinus anatomy, joint dysfunctions, pathologies, and infections can be identified which means that patients are properly diagnosed when they are first seen and are able to get the appropriate help sooner than they would with previous imaging methods.
  • Safer surgeries: With 3D imaging, surgeons can more easily identify the location of nerves and avoid them during surgery. This minimizes the risk of damaging a nerve and causing numbness.
  • Short scan time: 3D CBCT scanners can obtain all of the necessary images in a single rotation of about 10 seconds, decreasing the chance of image defects caused by the natural movement of the patient.
  • Bone quality assessment: 3D CBCT scans are used to assess bone quality, which is extremely important for implant placement. The surgeon can see if there is sufficient bone present for the procedure or if grafting will be necessary.
  • Surgical guides: the findings of the 3D scan are transferred to a computer-generated surgical template which our surgeon uses to create surgical guide for dental implant procedures.
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NERVOUS ABOUT DENTAL PROCEDURES?

Don’t worry, you are not alone! So many people feel uneasy about going to the dentist and some even avoid the oral surgeon altogether because of their anxiety.

This is an extremely bad idea, since you are missing opportunities for them to treat any problems in the early stages that could result in bigger issues that may need more invasive treatments later.

Sedation can be a great option for people who are scared of going the dentist as well as people undergoing extensive dental work. It helps ensure that their experience at a dental office is as comfortable as possible.

Oral surgeons receive specialized training in anesthesia. After they complete dental school, they enter a 4 or 6 year program which includes anesthesia training. Unlike general dentists, an oral surgeon is licensed to provide IV sedation with medicines such as Ketamine, Versed, and Propofol which are used to help with pain and/or to induce sleep. This is ideal for more invasive procedures and patients with extremely high dental anxiety.

Other kinds of sedation include oralsedation (a pill taken before the procedure) and Nitrous Oxide (“Laughing Gas”).

Some people are hesitant to receive Anesthesia. However, our patients can feel confident knowing that all of our surgeons have completed a hospital based surgical residency program, which has provided them with the highest level of in-office sedation and anesthesia training possible. This hands-on experience, working alongside medical anesthesiologists, qualifies them to evaluate their patients for anesthesia, deliver anesthetic and effectively monitor them throughout and after surgery. They are experienced in providing anesthesia to all age ranges, from pediatric to elderly patients, and are prepared to help you throughout the procedure.

If you need to undergo a dental procedure, but are hesitant because of your fear and anxiety, feel free to give us a call today and we can go over all of the options we provide to make your experience as comfortable as possible. 843-762-9028.

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Construction Begins on Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery’s New North Charleston Location

Charleston, SC – Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery is expanding, focused on bringing more healthcare options to the growing North Charleston community. After breaking ground in May, construction is officially underway with a projected completion date of spring 2019.

Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery remains dedicated to serving the Lowcountry, despite challenges in the project’s early stages. After COAFS announced plans for expansion and purchased the land in 2012, an Army Corps of Engineers’ survey revealed that some of the land was considered “protected wetlands.” COAFS revised their plans to ensure no damage to the environment. This delay set the project nearly two years behind schedule, but was deemed necessary to protect the land our community values.

Now that construction has begun at 78 Ingleside Boulevard, Boyer Construction, the same developer hired to build COAFS’ Mt. Pleasant office, does not foresee any additional setbacks, aside from weather-related delays. The state-of-the-art, 15,000-square-foot building will be conveniently located in the Medical Park and will feature solar panels on its roof. COAFS will occupy the building’s first floor, but is currently seeking leasers for the other two levels.

“We are so excited to continue to grow in order to provide access to the very best in dental technology and service,” said Dr. Edward Strauss.

The Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery team is confident that the end result will be worth the wait. Patients in the area are excited for the project’s completion as well, eager to receive top-notch care closer to home.

Since opening their first office in 2005, Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery has grown its team of surgical professionals and opened new offices as well. Five convenient locations exist today, including four in the Greater Charleston area and one in Bluffton. Each office is committed to providing the personalized, state-of-the-art treatment patients deserve.

Oral surgery patients are in the very best hands with Dr. Aaron Sarathy, Dr. Edward Strauss, Dr. A. Drane Oliphant and Dr. D. Graham Lee. To learn more about Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery or to make an appointment, call 843-762-9028 or contact us.

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There’s No Time Like Summertime: 3 Reasons to Schedule Wisdom Teeth Removal This Summer

 

Between baseball and ballet, tutoring and trombone, the school year is a busy time for kids – and for parents. Getting the kids to school on time and shuttling them between activities can be hectic, but the pace often slows as the calendar flips to June.

Before the summer months get cluttered with vacations and picnics, there’s one important appointment to schedule for your child: wisdom teeth removal. While some people in their teens and early 20’s experience discomfort, others show no symptoms at all. To avoid problems down the road, the professionals at Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery recommend wisdom teeth removal for all teenagers and young adults, even those whose teeth have not yet broken through.

Here’s why the summertime is best time to schedule the procedure:

No Missed Classes.
School’s out for the summer! And wisdom teeth should be, too. Ensure plenty of recovery time by scheduling your child’s wisdom teeth removal after the final school bell has rung. Your child will be able to rest easy, without stressing about looming due dates – or swollen cheeks.

No Need to Sit on the Sidelines.
The pain and swelling associated with the healing process makes it nearly impossible for even the most dedicated athletes to attend practices or games. To avoid the frustration of being benched during the playoffs, schedule your child’s wisdom teeth removal during the off-season.

No Added Stress for Mom and Dad.
After getting wisdom teeth removed, your child will need a little rest and relaxation—and a little extra attention, too. Many parents find it easier to take a few days off from work during the summer, allowing them to closely monitor their child’s recovery, dole out medication and prepare nutritious, easy-to-eat food for a limited diet. Hint: Frozen treats like popsicles are a tasty alternative to solid food – and summer removal gives kids the perfect excuse to enjoy them!

There’s no time like the summertime, especially when it comes to your child’s oral health! Call Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery today at 843-762-9028 or email us at office@coafs.com to schedule your consultation. Find out more about wisdom teeth removal here.

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National Facial Protection Month

With warmer temperatures and sunshine the staples of springtime here in the Lowcountry, outdoor activities quickly fill the calendar. From sporting events to bike rides, both children and adults are getting outside and getting active!

Families crowd the bleachers and ball fields – and as a result, emergency rooms and doctor’s offices often experience a flood of sports-related accidents during this time of year. That’s why we’re reminding all our patients to protect their faces and heads. It is National Facial Protection Month, after all! 

Wearing the right gear will go a long way in keeping players on the field and out of the ER! From helmets to mouth guards, sports safety equipment is a simple way to prevent head, mouth and facial injuries. So, suit up and get out there!

Despite taking precautions to prevent them, we understand that accidents happen. If you or a loved one experience a sports injury and need the highest quality emergency care, we can help! Call 843-762-9028.

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