The alveolus is the part of the jaw bone which supports the teeth. It may be involved in any disease process affecting the teeth, jaws and surrounding structures. Dentoalveolar surgery is the surgical management of diseases of the teeth and their supporting hard and soft tissues. It does not include dental surgery, (i.e. the restoration of teeth and provision of crowns, bridges and other prostheses).
Impacted and ectopic (misplaced) teeth may result in a number of irreversible hard and soft tissue pathological conditions which can reach an advanced stage with minor or no symptoms, demanding a carefully balanced decision as to the timing of surgery. Wisdom teeth or canine teeth are commonly affected.The removal of impacted wisdom teeth is one of the commonest of all surgical procedures. Impacted canines occur in 2% of children, and if left untreated may cause problems to other teeth. Difficult impactions can be one of the most demanding procedures in maxillofacial surgery, carrying a significant risk of nerve injury and, without question, removal is most safely carried out by an experienced surgeon.
There is a very large range of benign tumours, metabolic disorders of bone and cystic lesions affecting the mouth and jaws. Many cystic lesions are progressive and may cause pain, infection, weakness and deformity of the jaw bone.
Dental implants are frequently the best treatment option for replacing missing teeth. Rather than resting on the gum line like removable dentures, or using adjacent teeth as anchors like fixed bridges, dental implants are a long-term replacement. More complex cases may require bone grafting.