When is Pediatric Oral Surgery Necessary?

Navigating the complex world of oral health can be daunting, especially when it comes to the well-being of your child. Pediatric oral surgery represents a specialized domain within dentistry focused on correcting anatomical anomalies or removal of unwanted oral structures to promote better growth and function.

Common Conditions Requiring Pediatric Oral Surgery

The spectrum of conditions necessitating pediatric oral surgery is broad, encompassing structural anomalies such as cleft lip or palate to extra or supernumerary teeth, to results of trauma. Recognizing these conditions early on can significantly influence the outcome of surgical interventions, highlighting the importance of regular dental check-ups and consultations with dental and healthcare professionals.

Severe anatomical anomalies such as cleft lip or palate are best treated by a team of doctors, typically in a hospital setting, that work together to surgically repair the defects at certain points in development.  Major trauma, resulting in broken facial bones or large lacerations, are also best handled by a team of doctors in a hospital setting. 

However, there are many relatively common minor conditions that can be handled under sedation in an outpatient setting such as Hapy Bear Surgery Center.  Some of these are removal of extra or supernumerary teeth, biopsy of small growths or removal of blocked salivary glands called a Mucocele.  Also, minor trauma involving repositioning, re-implanting or removing teeth due to an accident, tongue tie release, and exposing and bonding of a chain onto an impacted tooth that can be used by an orthodontist to bring the tooth back into the correct position, are also things that can be done. 

Surgically removing extra or supernumerary teeth that are blocking the normal eruption of other teeth, are most seen in the anterior maxilla or upper front teeth area.  Removing these at the right time can help normal growth and development of the front teeth.

Next on the list are growths or bumps that do not appear to be normal and need to be investigated.  Typically, a biopsy is done in which the lesion or bump is removed and sent to a laboratory to be diagnosed.  Fortunately, cancerous lesions are almost unheard of in the pediatric population.  Most commonly these growths or bumps are traumatic fibromas, growths due to a virus or blocked salivary glands called a Mucocele.

Moving along, facial trauma causing avulsion (knocking out a tooth), luxation (displacement) of the tooth or fracture of teeth are things that would need immediate attention.  How things are handled depends on many factors such as whether the tooth or teeth are primary or permanent and the amount of damage to the tooth or surrounding structures.  There are many times that teeth can be repositioned, put back in or re-implanted. Other times they may need to be removed due to being fractured.

Next is tongue tie release.  Tongue tie or ankyloglossia is a condition present at birth that restricts the tongue's range of motion due to a tight connection of tissue under the tongue. This condition results from an unusually short or tight lingual frenulum, the band of tissue connecting the bottom of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. While not all cases of tongue tie require intervention, significant restrictions can impact breastfeeding, speech, oral hygiene, and facial growth. Many factors need to be assessed and evaluated to determine if surgical correction is necessary.

Finally, there are times an orthodontist will ask us to surgically access or expose a tooth that is malpositioned or not coming in like it should and bond on a small chain that the orthodontist can use to pull the tooth into the correct position.  This is most seen on upper canines in which they are pointing the wrong way and need to be “helped” into the correct position.  Because this is a detailed procedure in which a tooth up inside must be located and a chain attached, it is best to be handled by competent professionals under sedation.

If you suspect your child may need oral surgery or treatment under sedation, get a referral from your general dentist or orthodontist for a consultation with our professionals at Hapy Bear Surgery Center located in Tulare, California. Please call (559) 732-4279 for more information.

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