Dean C. Younce, D.M.D., P.A.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Dentoalveolar Trauma and Surgeries

The word 'dentoalveolar' refers to the ridge of bone in the mouth that contains tooth sockets and bears teeth. Injuries to the mouth on the ridge of bone are referred to as dentoalveolar trauma. Dr. Younce works to correct trauma but also performs dentoalveolar surgery, the management of the teeth and their supporting hard (bone) and soft (skin and muscle) tissues. Many cases of trauma and tissue surgeries fall under this category.

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Dentoalveolar trauma results from a violent external force acting on the mouth. These injuries typically occur during recreation or everyday activity. If you were to sustain an injury from falling in a biking accident or receiving a hit to the mouth or jaw, you could be treated for dentoalveolar trauma.

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In addition to correctional surgeries for trauma, Dr. Younce also handles emergency situations in which closure of lacerationsis needed. These surgeries are done at St. Luke's Regional Medical Center where Dr. Younce is on call. Although accidents are never welcome, if an emergency occurs in which medical attention is needed, proceed to the nearest hospital immediately.

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An additional case of trauma correction is the management of facial and jaw bone fractures. Dr. Younce has the capabilities to assist a patient in need should they receive an injury to the mouth or jaw. The careful placement of plates, screws, or wires is used to fully restore the damaged bones.

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The cause for a dentoalveolar surgery will not always be from trauma, but could be from an issue with the gums or surrounding soft tissue. Dr. Younce performs a variety of surgeries to keep your mouth healthy and in good functioning condition.

A torus is an extra swelling or bony growth that can form in the mouth, usually behind the teeth on the lower jaw and under the tongue. These growths are benign and should not cause pain; however, tori removal is recommended and may be necessary if dentures are needed for the mouth.

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Other surgeries that may be needed to accomodate for dentures are alveoloplasties and tuberosity reductions. An alveoloplasty is the reshaping of either alveolar ridge (upper or lower jaw) to allow for dentures. A tuberosity reduction is a surgery to decrease the size of a tuberosity, a bony growth covered by gum on the upper jaw near the last molar. These growths may need to be reduced in size in order to allow an upper denture to fit properly.

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More surgeries performed by Dr. Younce that focus on the soft tissue of the mouth are gingivoplasties and frenectomies. A gingivoplasty is often done to reshape or remove the gum tissue for cosmetic purposes. Similarly, a frenectomy is the removal of excess tissue, specifically the frenulum, or fold of tissue to restrict organ movement. The frenulum on the middle of the upper lip and under the tongue can be surgically altered to allow for easier movements of the mouth.

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A final surgery that falls under this category is exposure and bracketing. In preparation for braces done by an orthodontist, an exposure removes overlying gum tissue, especially on canines, if necessary to make enough room on the tooth to place a bracket. Dr. Younce can also bond brackets if needed.