Minimally invasive oral surgery

What is a minimally invasive surgery?
Minimally invasive surgery is surgery that reduces trauma to the body.

What are the advantages of minimally invasive surgery?
Smaller incision which are used will lead to faster recovery times, less pain, swelling and scarring and in many cases less post operative complications.

How does minimally invasive surgery in the mouth work?
Similar to other types of minimally invasive surgery, minimally invasive oral surgery uses smaller incisions and leads to less tissue trauma which in turn leads to shorter healing times and less post operative pain and swelling.

Can anyone perform minimally invasive surgery?
Yes anyone can, but not everyone does. The reason is that only surgeons that are intimately familiar with tissue handling (i.e. the texture, feel, resiliency, elasticity) would be most successful in performing minimally invasive surgery. In order for minimally invasive surgery to be successful the surgeon must have a higher degree of mastery of the surgical anatomy and surgical procedure. This level of mastery comes with time and experience.

How do I know if my dentist/surgeon has achieved the level of mastery to perform procedures in a minimally invasive manner?
Well, for starters you can simply ask. Also, certain surgical specialties have a better understanding of face and jaw anatomy.

Which surgical specialties have a this type of knowledge and experience? As you may have guessed Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons have the greatest understanding and experience of jaw and face anatomy.

Are oral surgeons the only specialty with this type of experience and understanding?
While oral surgeons by far have the most experience they are not the only dentists that might be able to perform minimally invasive surgery. Other dentists or dental specialists are periodontists, some prosthodontists and some well trained general dentists that have focused their practice to the art and science of oral surgery.

What kind of procedures qualify for minimally invasive surgery?
Procedures that lend themselves to a minimally invasive approach are routine surgical extractions, extraction of wisdom teeth, placement of dental implants, bone grafting/ tissue regenerative procedures (i.e. sinus lift procedures, ridge augmentation, and gum grafts).

Is every patient a candidate for minimally invasive surgery?
No, not every patient or every site can be treated in a minimally invasive manner. Although any good surgeon will do what he or she can to minimize trauma to the tissue, not every procedure for every patient would qualify for a minimally invasive approach.

What factors determine if a patient or procedure is amenable to a minimally invasive approach?
There are at least a couple of determinants for this. Anatomical variations would rank high as would the anatomical site and anticipated result.

What do you mean by this?
For instance, some patients simply lack too much bone and would need extensive grafting of bone. This would necessitate making larger incisions where tissue trauma becomes a secondary consideration and obtaining sufficient bone for implant placement becomes the primary consideration. Also, a wisdom tooth may be severely impacted with close association to a nerve or other anatomical structure which would then make the minimally invasive approach take a back seat to successful completion of the surgery.

Would my surgeon be able to tell me in advance if a minimally invasive approach would be appropriate for me?
Yes, in most cases once your surgeon has evaluated all of the diagnostic data (physical exam, radiographic imaging [x-rays, ct scans]) he or she should be able to give you an idea if a minimally invasive approach would be right for you.

Is there a chance that this could change during the procedure?
Yes, there is a chance that this could change if some unforeseen situation occurs. Ultimately, your surgeon should have your best interest at heart and will do what is necessary to get you the best result possible.

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