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All Posts in Category: Oral Surgery

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!

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.

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.


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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Immediate Dental Implants: Don’t Keep Your Smile Covered Up This Summer!

The warm breeze and sunshine that define the Lowcountry this time of year are irresistible – and beach-goers are ready to ditch their sarongs and sandals and dive into summertime headfirst. But if you’re feeling less than confident about your smile, keeping it covered up might seem like the only option.

But there’s a better way: dental implants. Before long, the smile you’ve always dreamed of will be yours – just in time for summer! No more shying away from the camera, no more feeling self-conscious about your teeth, no more stifling a laugh behind your hand. Why hide your smile when you can flaunt it instead? Why waste another moment wishing for a gorgeous grin, instead of showing it off?

Immediate dental implants, in particular, make the procedure both cost-effective and convenient. Everyone understands that multiple appointments mean multiple days off work, costing patients both time and money. With the ability to perform an extraction and placement of a dental implant all on the same day, patients are guaranteed to save both. Fewer appointments also means less recovery time, which means you’ll be able to unveil your new smile long before the season ends!

But it’s important to do your research before choosing an oral surgeon in order to ensure your smile is in the very best hands. Dr. Aaron Sarathy, oral surgeon at Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery in Bluffton, recommends that patients consult various medical providers before getting dental implants to confirm that their surgeon of choice has the proper training and utilizes the highest quality materials.

“Unfortunately, many patients are not sure of what to look for when researching dental implants and end up choosing cheaper options with inferior products,” explains Dr. Sarathy. “In some circumstances, patients who receive low-cost implant surgery need to have the treatment redone at a significant financial, emotional and physical cost.”

Although immediate dental implants are a great option for many patients, keep in mind that they may not be the best treatment option for everyone. Patients needing extensive bone grafting, for instance, are not eligible for same-day procedures. Be sure to ask your oral surgeon to thoroughly review your medical history and determine if you’re a candidate.

Why spend another summer covering up your smile? Call Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery at 843-762-9028 today – and get a smile that dazzles so brightly you’ll be reaching for your favorite pair of shades!

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Dr. Oliphant talks wisdom teeth with Live 5 News

Our own Dr. A. Drane Oliphant talks with WCSC Live 5 News about wisdom teeth and how the holidays are a perfect time for teens and young adults to have them removed.

Dr. Oliphant also talks about Exparel, a new non-narcotic option for pain relief. This new local analgesic provides long-lasting post-surgical pain control, helping to cut down on the need for pain medications and the potential for opioid abuse.

Learn more about wisdom teeth extractions here and Exparel here.

Call us for your consultation at 843-762-9028 or email us at

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All About Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

At Charleston Oral And Facial Surgery, all of our surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. You might be wondering, why is this important or how does this benefit patients? Well, let’s dig a little deeper!

  • What is a Board Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon?
    • It is a surgeon that has been recognized as having achieved the highest standards within their profession through continuous education.
  • How does a surgeon become Board Certified?
    • 4 years of undergraduate school
    • 4 years of dental school
    • 4-6 years residency
    • They must pass a rigorous written exam along with the ABOMS Oral Certifying Examination (OCE), which is a series of tests focused on their clinical knowledge and judgement as well as different concerns that are addressed in surgery.
    • They are required to take part in ongoing continuing professional education to stay up-to-date with practices and techniques in their field and must be recertified on these every 10 years.
  • How does this benefit patients?
    • They are under the care of a dental professional with extensive surgical training, experience and skill.
    • Our surgeons provide safe and experienced administration of all levels of sedation and general anesthesia that is appropriate for each patient’s procedure.
    • They can be confident knowing that they are undergoing treatment with the most equipped dental professionals to handle complications.
    • Our surgeons can provide them with the most advanced technology and comprehensive anesthesia monitoring.

Clearly, Board Certified surgeons offer several benefits to their patients that can make them feel more confident to undergo a surgical procedure since they are in the best hands and under the best care.

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Dental Implants Charleston, SC Oral Surgery

Are Dental Implants the Right Choice for You?

Dental implants are a popular solution that provides health, aesthetic, and functional benefits. At Charleston Oral & Facial Surgery, we can help you in your dental implant decision: while there are many types of dental implant procedures, such as Teeth in an Hour and All-On-Four, knowing the overall process and the differentiation of each can help you decide if dental implants are the right choice for you.

Dental implants replace a missing tooth or teeth with a prosthesis. The procedure is simple and effective: first, a titanium implant is inserted into the jawbone, which will fuse with your natural bone over time to create a secure foundation for the abutment and crown. Next, an abutment is attached, which functions as an anchor between the crown and the implant. Finally, the crown, which looks like a natural tooth, is placed on top of the abutment. The end result is natural and secure.

One of our many specialties at Charleston Oral & Facial Surgery is dental implants: we strive to minimize patient discomfort, number of visits to the dentist, cost to the patient, and more. Our patients are pleased when they hear that waiting time is minimal: we can perform Teeth in an Hour, which provides our patients who are missing or who have several non-restorable teeth with a new smile in –you guessed it— as little as an hour. We can also replace any single tooth with an implant at the initial visit and permanently set the crown in about 6 weeks, which significantly reduces the period of time without a tooth. Charleston Oral & Facial Surgery can even perform immediate temporaries and can improve the uncomfortable, unstable feeling of dentures many patients experience by using dental implants to secure them in.

We also perform the All-On-Four technique, which is a type of dental implant procedure that is ideal for those who have multiple teeth issues. It is a popular solution that provides quick, long-term results for an entire set of teeth. Unlike a single dental implant, which replaces each individual tooth and tooth root, All-On-Four replaces all of your upper or lower teeth in a single arch. With a short surgical procedure and a minimal recovery period, many of our All-On-Four patients are happy with their secure, natural looking, permanent results.

Drs. Strauss, Sarathy and Oliphant can best determine if dental implants are the right choice for you, and can recommend the most effective procedure to suit your personal dental implant needs. Please contact our office today to schedule your consultation.

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Why Wisdom Teeth Removal Charleston SC Oral Surgery

Why Do I Have Wisdom Teeth?

Most M3s must be removed by oral surgeons – but why do we have them at all?

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In the far corners of our mouths, buried at least until young adulthood, lies an ongoing mystery.

Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molar or M3s, serve no obvious purpose in modern life, and often cause us trouble when they become impacted or crowd the other teeth. And yet the great majority of humans have them. Why?

It is said that about 95 percent of the population has wisdom teeth – and an estimated 90 percent develops at least one impacted wisdom tooth, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Such impacted wisdom teeth need to come out, or else pain and infection result. In the United States, that typically means a visit to the oral surgeon, who is best qualified to remove the third molars and restore basic function to the teeth and jaws.

Although it’s up to oral surgeons to fix the problem, understanding why wisdom teeth developed in the first place is not their expertise. For that, science turns to anthropologists – who study ancient skeletons and piece together how humans have evolved over the millennia – and geneticists, who are able to find clues to evolution at the molecular level.

Among anthropologists, the dominant theory is that early humans once needed those extra molars to help chew the tough, uncooked foods that our ancestors lived on, such as roots, nuts and raw meat. Jaws were more pronounced back then, and the much-needed M3s fit just fine back there and got the job done.

More recently – not so long ago in geologic time – humans learned to cook their food, making it softer and easier to digest. And as brain size grew, jaw size shrank, leaving wisdom teeth as the unwanted extras. Or so goes the theory.

Meanwhile, geneticists have identified a specific gene, MYH16, which appears to be connected to brain size and to characteristics of the jaw – although its exact role in human evolution has not yet been pinned down.

The theories behind wisdom teeth may be interesting. But at a practical level, someone suffering from an impacted third molar will be much more interested in getting it extracted quickly and safely – and that’s where oral surgeons come in.

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