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Oral Pathology   |   Distraction Osteogenesis  |   Preprosthetic Surgery

Sinus Closures   |   Head and Neck Reconstruction

Oral Pathology (Biopsies)
A normal healthy mouth is lined with specialized skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any deviation from this appearance could be a sign of pathology. The most serious of these is oral cancer.

Those that use tobacco products and/or consume alcohol on a regular basis should be most concerned. Dr. Huynh recommends following the guidelines outlined by the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery on oral cancer screenings. A monthly self-examination oral cancer screening should be performed by you. Things to look for are:

    • Reddish patches (erythroplasia)
    • Whitish patches (leukoplakia)
    • Reddish-whitish patches (erythroleukoplakia)
    • A lump or thickening of the mucosa
    • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
    • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
    • Sudden onset of numbness or tingling sensation to lip, chin,
      tongue or teeth
    • Ulcers that don't disappear

If you have any of these signs, contact our office to schedule an evaluation. Dr. Huynh will perform a thorough evaluation and, if necessary, he will recommend a biopsy of the suspicious lesion. The tissue or sample will be sent to the lab for analysis to obtain an accurate diagnosis. The results can be used to determine the proper management of the lesion in question.

In addition to performing a monthly self-examination, a yearly visit to an oral surgeon for oral cancer screening is highly recommended. Be aware of any of the above signs and have any suspicious lumps or sores evaluated.

Do not ignore any of the warning signs. Early detection and treatment is our best defense against oral cancer.

Distraction Osteogenesis
Distraction means to pull or stretch apart and osteogenesis means to grow bone. So distraction osteogenesis (DO) is the process of growing bone through stretching. Although the science and technique of DO has roots in orthopedic surgery, it was not until recently that we adapted the technique to oral surgery. DO allows for segments of bone to regenerate without the need for bone grafting or when bone grafting is not desired or not possible. DO is very specialized and should be performed by those familiar with the technique. Dr. Huynh has had extensive training and offers the procedure if indicated.


Preprosthetic Surgery
Preprosthetic surgery is a broad category of surgical procedures that are performed prior to fabrication of a prosthesis (dentures, dental implants, etc.). Since the type of surgery is driven by the planned prosthesis, Dr. Huynh will work closely with your dentist or prosthodontist to ensure the best possible outcome.

The bone surrounding the teeth is known as the alveolus or alveolar bone. Alveolar bone serves to support teeth, dental implants or dentures. No one can predict what shape the alveolar bone will take once teeth are removed. When it heals in a shape of a saddle, dentures and implants can be supported. However, if the architecture of the alveolar bone is sharp or irregularly shaped, an alveoloplasty is performed to re-contour the ridge into a saddle to allow for support of a prosthesis.

Torus or Tori Removal
A torus is a benign bony outgrowth that can appear on the roof of the mouth (palatal torus) or tongue surface of the lower jaw (lingual torus). When more than one torus is present, they are collectively called tori. Tori are painless and most patients are not even aware that they are present. Tori are not cancerous and do not have to be removed. Tori often become a concern when patients are forced to wear a denture. This is because the specialized skin (mucosa) overlying them are thin and not adaptable to supporting dentures. They are usually removed prior to having dentures fabricated.

Immediate Dentures
Immediate dentures, as the name implies, are dentures inserted at the time of dental extractions. Immediate dentures give you the freedom to continue your daily routine after your teeth are removed. Immediate dentures must be fabricated prior to the dental extractions. Thus it is important that you schedule your appointment only after your dentist or prosthodontist completes your dentures.

Bone Grafting for Dental Implants
For optimal dental implant placement and success, the ridge is evaluated carefully for both height of bone and width of bone. If the ridge in which the dental implants are to be placed is thin and/or short, bone grafting may be necessary prior to implant placement. Please see the section on dental implants for more information on this new and exciting tooth replacement system.

Frenectomy & Frenulectomy
Frenums are tissue attachments that anchor the lips, cheek, and tongue to the jaw bone. Frenums are normal structures in the oral cavity. However, a short frenum can limit the stability of a denture, impair speech, and cause periodontal problems. Often a frenetomy (surgical removal of the frenum) to lengthen the frenum will be required. A frenulectomy is a tongue release procedure performed on children with ankyloglossia (tongue-tied). Procedures can be performed quickly under local anesthesia and you can return to normal activity within a day.

Sinus Closures
After removal of some upper back molars, a thin layer of bone or sinus membrane remains in place. This thin bone and/or sinus membrane is essential in separating the sinus cavity from the oral cavity. Until the socket heals, you must follow precautionary steps to prevent breakage of the bone or rupture of the membrane, resulting in a sinus exposure. To minimize your chances of a sinus exposure, do the following:

  • Avoid sneezing or coughing with your mouth closed
  • Avoid blowing your nose
  • Do NOT smoke
  • Take medication as prescribed

The architecture of some sinus cavities lend themselves to exposure after removal of upper back teeth. A small exposure will often heal by itself. Larger exposures may require surgical closure. 

Dr. Huynh will perform a thorough evaluation and any necessary x-rays to confirm the sinus perforation. He will recommend a treatment plan that is specific to your situation.

Head and Neck Reconstruction
Head and neck reconstruction is a broad term used to describe a team approach to reconstituting hard and soft tissue loss during tumor surgery. Oral surgeons are often consulted during tumor surgery when it involves the jaw bones.

The main goal of cancer surgery is to remove the tumor and the surrounding tissue it has invaded. Cancers that originate in the oral cavity can spread to the jaw bones and require resection (cutting out) in part or in whole to completely remove the tumor. Reconstructive surgery may be performed to restore facial form or function that might have been lost or altered during tumor removal. An evaluation by an oral surgeon and careful pre-operative planning will facilitate the reconstruction.

A thorough evaluation and planned reconstruction of the oral cavity are also vital in post-operative nutritive care. Without a functional oral cavity to aid food intake, nutritional status could be compromised, thereby prolonging recovery.

If you are scheduled for surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, an evaluation by Dr. Huynh is highly recommended. Dr. Huynh will work closely with your team of surgeons to ensure the best possible outcome.



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