Harvard Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Patient Info

Patient Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are oral surgery visits and procedures covered by my medical insurance?

Insurance coverage can only be verified by your insurance company, and all patients are responsible for contacting their insurers to determine eligibility for coverage. In many cases, procedures performed by an oral surgeon—including wisdom tooth extraction and orthognathic surgery—are covered by your medical insurance. It is important that you contact your primary care physician and obtain a referral form when you are referred to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for treatment.

Why should I go to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for tooth extraction?

While it is true that many general dentists will perform tooth extractions, many patients prefer the comfort and confidence of having these surgical procedures performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. There is a wide range of variables and outcomes associated with surgical procedures. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive extensive training in anesthesia and pain control, and our clinical offices are equipped as outpatient surgical centers. Patients who prefer to be asleep or sedated for their extractions will be most comfortable under the care of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Do I need to be hospitalized for my procedure?

The decision to stay overnight in the hospital is determined by your doctor and is based upon your need for continued management, medical monitoring, and nursing care after the operation. Most oral surgery procedures are performed safely on an outpatient basis, allowing the patient to return home following a brief recovery period when accompanied by an adult escort. Some procedures require a short hospital stay before the patient will feel comfortable resuming their activities of daily life in an independent fashion. In our practice, MGH clinicians are available 24 hours a day to assist patients during their post-operative recovery period.

Why do I need jaw surgery AND braces?

Orthodontic appliances (braces) are an effective treatment for straightening teeth, but a misaligned bite can only be fixed through jaw surgery known as “orthognathic surgery”. Normally, an orthodontist and an oral and maxillofacial surgeon work together to plan a patient’s care, with orthognathic surgery taking place toward the end of the orthodontic treatment. Orthognathic treatment planning may involved the upper jaw (maxilla), the lower jaw (mandible), or both.

Am I a candidate for dental implants?

If you were told in the past that implants could not be used to replace certain teeth, you may be surprised to find that today’s implant technology can be used on almost every patient to replace almost any tooth. Dental implants are surgically implanted artificial roots that integrate with the bone to form a stable foundation for restoring missing teeth. A brief consultation with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon will help determine whether implants are a good solution for your tooth replacement and restoration needs.