Category Archives: St. Luke’s OMS

Have You Heard of Implantology?

Implantology is a dentistry branch that deals with the placement of permanent implants and artificial teeth into the jaw. This is a newer dentistry practice designed to provide permanent solutions for tooth loss.

While keeping your natural tooth is always the preferred option, if the time comes that you do need to have a tooth removed, you’ll be happy to know that there are great options available.

About the Implantology Process

So, if your dentist has told you that you are an Implantology candidate, you are likely interested in learning exactly what the process will entail. First, if it hasn’t already been removed, the original tooth will need to be extracted.

Depending on the location of the tooth in your mouth or the extent of your problem, this extraction could be completed simply using forceps – a simple extraction – or via surgery.

Next, your jawbone will be prepared in order to accept the surgery. If you don’t have enough jaw bone available for successful implantation, you may need a bone graft before you can have the implants put into place.

During the actual implant surgery, your oral surgeon will open up your gums to expose the jawbone, and holes will be drilled where the implant poles will be placed.

These posts will serve as the root, and after placement, you’ll need to wait for up to six months for the jawbone to fuse around the implant. After this process, the abutment and crown – or replacement tooth – will be permanently attached to the jaw.

These prosthetic teeth will not need to be removed in the same way that removable bridges or dentures do, and you won’t have to worry about your teeth shifting or moving in your mouth.

Implantology is a great solution if you are living with tooth loss. Contact our office today to find out if you are a good candidate.

Understanding Oral Pathology

Oral pathology refers to diseases of the mouth, jaws, and related structures. Your mouth has numerous functions, but it can also be prone to both dental and medical disorders. Typically, the inside of your mouth should be a healthy shade of pink. Any issue that alters the color or makes the skin inside of your mouth appear bumpy is a sign that a pathological process has taken place within your mouth, and professional help should be accessed right away.

The Importance of Dental Exams

Regular checkups are extremely important for the health of your mouth. Your dentist will use these exams as an opportunity to look for irregularities in your mouth, including lumps or bumps. A baseline X-ray might be used to determine if any pathological changes have taken place within your mouth, and the exam will also include your neck and facial areas. These exams will usually include an oral cancer screening, as well.

The Performance of Self-Exams

Since you’ll only be seeing your dentist every six months, it is important that you are also staying diligent about your self-exams to look for certain signs of a problem. Be on the lookout for sores that do not heal on their own or bleed, red or white patches, or pain in your throat or jaw. Lumps or bumps that suddenly appear may also be a cause for concern, and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.

Not every problem within your mouth will need to be treated, but certain cases will require action. Antibiotics can be used for infection, and specialized mouth rinses can help to kill dangerous bacteria in the mouth. Other abnormalities may require surgical removal in order to improve your ability to speak and chew and to help with your comfort level.

Remember that the health of your mouth is important in your overall health, so be sure to periodically allow a dentist or oral surgeon to inspect your oral pathology.

Please contact us if you have any questions about oral pathology.

When Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?

Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. In fact, if your teeth have enough room to support them and they grow in properly, you can go your entire life without needing them removed. Sadly, this is not a common occurrence, and there are many situations in which removing the wisdom teeth is the best course of action.

Situations Where the Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Taken Out

When your wisdom teeth start to cause problems or your dentist is able to determine that they could be problematic later on, they’ll need to be taken out. Some of the best reasons for removing the wisdom teeth include:

  • Jaw damage. Cysts may form around the wisdom teeth, and left untreated, they could damage nerves and hollow out the jaw.
  • Tooth damage. If you have a crowded mouth, this extra set of molars could cause the other teeth to shift around, resulting in problems with alignment and mouth pain.
  • Gum inflammation. The tissues around your wisdom teeth could swell, bleed, and become hard to clean.
  • Sinus pain. Wisdom teeth issues can lead to pain, congestion, and pressure in the sinuses.
  • Cavities. Swollen gums could develop pockets in between the teeth, giving bacteria the chance to grow and form cavities.

Wisdom Teeth Removal for Prevention

Even if your wisdom teeth erupt and aren’t causing you any pain, they still may be causing problems. The teeth could be impacted, meaning they are stuck in the gums and can’t break through the jaw. This could be due to having a mouth that is too small to support them, or the teeth may be growing at strange angles that prevent them from erupting.

In these situations, your wisdom teeth may need to be removed as a preventative measure in order to ensure that they do not start causing problems in the future.

 Please contact us if you have any questions about your wisdom teeth.


Important Benefits of Corrective Jaw Surgery

Are you considering corrective jaw surgery to fix a problem with your bite or another issue? If your dentist recommends jaw surgery as a treatment option, you have likely tried more conservative methods of correcting your problem with limited success. Surgery might now be your best bet for getting the results that you want, and fortunately, there are several important benefits that come along with corrective jaw surgery.

Improved Bite

Corrective jaw surgery can lead to a more functional and well-balanced bite. This can result in less wear on the teeth and strain on the jaw joint, allowing you to return to eating the foods that you once loved. Unfortunately, there are many people out there who aren’t able to enjoy their favorite foods because of misalignment with the jaw, and this can all be corrected by pursuing corrective jaw surgery.

Improved Facial Appearance

There are certain dental issues that can actually alter the appearance of your face. For example, an overbite or an underbite can make your face looks like one of the jaws is jutting out. Even correcting this issue slightly can make a major improvement in the shape and appearance of your face, as the jawbone will be moved either backwards or forward. You’ll no longer need to worry about having a jaw that appears to be oversized, which can ultimately affect the beauty of your smile.

Fewer Headaches

Many oral surgeons will tell you that when patients are living with TMJ disorder, they are typically nighttime grinders. This is done unconsciously while asleep, so there is nothing that they can do to control or stop the behaviors. In addition to the damage that grinding can do to the teeth, this habit can also lead to chronic headaches. If your teeth grinding habit results from problems with your bite, corrective jaw surgery can eliminate the issue and hopefully reduce your headaches.

Please contact us if you have any questions about corrective jaw surgery.

The Dangers to Dental Implants When You Smoke

A diagram of how a dental implant works.Extensive research has been conducted to determine the effects of smoking on patients who have had permanent dental implants. All the research seems to agree that one of the predominant causes of long-term failure is smoking.

The success rate of dental implants has been well established over the last several years and the medical community and patients alike agree. Much of that success is dependent as much on after care by the dentist and patient as it does on the procedure itself. However, smokers can directly affect the success of their implants positively or negatively.

According to a number of known specialists doing research, it is plain that smoking patients have a higher risk of severe periodontal disease in their mouth before the need for implants. It is often the leading reason for a loss of teeth and the need to explore the need for dental implants put in place.

The National Institute of Health cites that smokers are apt to suffer more than twice the number of implant failures as non-smokers. It stands to reason that the combination of tar and nicotine have an adverse effect on the implants and contribute to potential failure. The adverse effects of smoking to the whole healing process and chance of infection is increased. That is bound to interrupt a solid bond between the new implanted root and the jaw bone. That failure seems to be even more frequent in dental implants in the upper jaw, maxillary.

Smoking also increases the chances of failure rate when implants placed in grafted maxillary sinuses by double compared to non-smokers.

Smoking increases the complications that can arise in the healing process after the implants are inserted into the jaw. Bone loss can be significantly higher in smokers.

It is highly recommended that patients smoking before getting the dental implants. It will greatly increase their chances of long-term success. But if not before, it is a compelling reason to stop smoking after the dental implants. Smoking and dental implants do not mix.

Please contact us if you have any questions about dental implants.



What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?


The Surgeons at St. Luke’s OMS are often asked what an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon actually does.  The fact of the matter is, this profession is not something that can not be put into one or two sentences! This blog gives more incite into what it takes to become and Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon and the vast range of surgeries that can be completed by one of these surgeons.

Becoming An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon

An Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon is commonly referred to as an oral surgeon. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a surgical specialty built on a foundation of dentistry.

All Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are graduates from dental school and are initially dentists.

After finishing dental school, there are several options for specialty training that go beyond the expertise of a regular dentist. Specialties include endodontics (root canal treatment), periodontics (gum surgery), orthodontics (braces), pedodontics (dentistry for children), and oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Specialization In Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery

The specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery requires an extensive period of hospital-based training ranging from 4-6 years. During this time frame, the oral and maxillofacial surgery resident will spend time in many areas including anesthesiology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, ICU (intensive care), general surgery, otolaryngology (ENT) plastic surgery and neurosurgery.

Additionally, an extended period of time and concentration is spent developing expertise and experience specifically relating to surgery of the mouth, jaws and face, including:

  • Dental Implant Surgery
  • Bone Grafting
  • Wisdom Tooth Removal
  • Corrective Jaw Surgery (Orthognathic Surgery)
  • Facial Trauma
  • TMJ Surgery
  • Pathology & Reconstruction
  • Facial cosmetic Surgery

A Dental Surgeon And An Oral Surgeon Are Not The Same

A dental surgeon is a regular or general dentist (GP). A GP will typically perform various procedures throughout their day including tooth whitening, veneers, restorative dentistry, crown and bridge work, root canals and some oral surgery, but the oral surgery is never the sole focus of his or her practice.

On the other hand, an oral surgeon is a specialist with an extensive, concentrated and dedicated course of surgical training who performs surgery, and only surgery, on a daily basis.

While the office of an oral surgeon appears on the surface to be similar to a dentists office, the equipment and instrumentation is always more extensive and specialized, allowing the oral surgeon to perform procedures more quickly, often more delicately and precisely, and more comfortably.

Additionally, oral surgeons have extensive training in anesthesiology and therefore they can offer intravenous sedation to optimize the comfort of your treatment.

What Is A Diplomate Of The American Board Of OMFS?

Upon graduation, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is qualified to practice. However, board certification is a marker of a specialist who is recognized by his peers as having achieved the highest standards within the profession.

Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is exactly the same as being “Board Certified”. This title is acquired with a great deal of dedication and hard work above and beyond the regular educational program of an oral surgeon.

The board certification process requires the oral and maxillofacial surgeon to undergo a series of requirements and examinations in order to acquire board certification status. The first requirement is submission of cases covering a broad area of surgical expertise. The second hurdle is an intensive written examination, and the third level is a lengthy oral examination. The status of “board certified” is evidence that the oral surgeon has met the highest requirements of competence within the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery.

How To Choose Your Oral, Maxillofacial, And Implant Surgeon

Now that you know about the educational background, how do you choose your oral, maxillofacial, or implant surgeon to ensure that your procedure is a success?

Frankly, the most important factor in the success of your procedure is the surgeon that you select.

Firstly, you want to make sure you are actually being treated by an oral surgeon. Any dentist can perform oral surgery, but they are not oral surgeons. That is why the “Board Certification” status is so important. It truly identifies your surgeon as a verified and certified oral surgeon who has achieved the highest credentials and standards within the profession.

Second, it’s important to recognize that not all oral surgeons are board-certified, which gives you greater assurance that your surgeon is competent to handle your case.

Finally, above all, you want an experienced surgeon who is caring and compassionate with sound surgical skills and judgment.  The team at St. Luke’s OMS understands that it is important for our patients to be comfortable with the doctors that treat them. If you would like more information about the various surgeons that are able to treat you at our office, browse around the website to learn and choose the surgeon that is right for you!

Doctor Group Photo

Choices are important! That is why we have board certified surgeons to fit the needs of every patient.  Learn more about Dr. Wayne Saunders, Dr. Daniel Lader, Dr. Dominic Rachiele, Dr. Brett Geller, Dr. Joseph Arnone, Dr. Michael Fedele, Dr. Michael Goulston and Dr. Karl Maloney!


Lehigh Valley Oral Surgery & Dental Implants at St. Luke’s Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Welcome to our new and improved website! We have launched our new brand and web platform. We will use this as a tool to keep you informed and up-to-date with developments and announcements!

Dr. Wayne J. Saunders and The Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at St. Luke’s has been the leading Lehigh Valley oral surgery & dental implant practice for over 10 years!

We hope you enjoy your OMS experience! Keep smiling!

– St. Luke’s OMS … Teeth Done Right!