Dr. Reebye has a very extensive and comprehensive list of training and accomplishments. As a dual-degree Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Reebye has completed both medical and dental school, as well as an Oral Maxillofacial internship and surgical residency. He is an attending surgeon at Durham Regional Hospital, clinical adjunct faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
Dr. Reebye attended Boston University School of Dental Medicine and completed his medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His surgical training includes an Oral Maxillofacial internship at Boston Medical Center, General Surgery Training at UNC-Chapel Hill and an Oral Maxillofacial Residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
Dental implants are changing the way people live. They are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. Patients with dental implants can smile with confidence.
What Are Dental Implants?
The implants themselves are tiny titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone where teeth are missing. These metal anchors act as tooth root substitutes. The bone bonds with the titanium, creating a strong foundation for artificial teeth. Small posts that protrude through the gums are then attached to the implant. These posts provide stable anchors for artificial replacement teeth.
Over a period of time, the jawbone associated with missing teeth atrophies or is reabsorbed. This often leaves a condition in which there is poor quality and quantity of bone suitable for placement of dental implants. In these situations, most patients are not candidates for placement of dental implants.
Today, we have the ability to grow bone where needed. This not only gives us the opportunity to place implants of proper length and width, it also gives us a chance to restore functionality and aesthetic appearance.
Bone grafting can repair implant sites with inadequate bone structure due to previous extractions, gum disease or injuries. The bone is either obtained from a tissue bank or your own bone is taken from the jaw, hip or tibia (below the knee). Sinus bone grafts are also performed to replace bone in the posterior upper jaw. In addition, special membranes may be utilized that dissolve under the gum and protect the bone graft and encourage bone regeneration. This is called guided bone regeneration or guided tissue regeneration.
Major bone grafts are typically performed to repair defects of the jaws. These defects may arise as a result of traumatic injuries, tumor surgery, or congenital defects. Large defects are repaired using the patients own bone. This bone is harvested from a number of different sites depending on the size of the defect. The skull (cranium), hip (iliac crest), and lateral knee (tibia), are common donor sites. These procedures are routinely performed in an operating room and require a hospital stay.
Orthognathic Surgery (Jaw Surgery)
Orthognathic surgery is needed when jaws don’t meet correctly and/or teeth don’t seem to fit with jaws. Teeth are straightened with orthodontics and corrective jaw surgery repositions a misaligned jaw. This not only improves facial appearance, but also ensures that teeth meet correctly and function properly.
Who Needs Orthognathic Surgery?
People who can benefit from orthognathic surgery include those with an improper bite or jaws that are positioned incorrectly. Jaw growth is a gradual process and in some instances, the upper and lower jaws may grow at different rates. The result can be a host of problems that can affect chewing function, speech, long-term oral health and appearance. Injury to the jaw and birth defects can also affect jaw alignment. Orthodontics alone can correct bite problems when only the teeth are involved. Orthognathic surgery may be required for the jaws when repositioning in necessary.
The inside of the mouth is normally lined with a special type of skin (mucosa) that is smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathologic process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth.
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily.
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth.
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
These changes can be detected on the lips, cheeks, palate, and gum tissue around the teeth, tongue, face and/or neck. Pain does not always occur with pathology, and curiously, is not often associated with oral cancer. However, any patient with facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason may also be at risk for oral cancer.
TMJ General Causes and Symptoms
Trauma to the jaw or temporomandibular joint plays a role in some TMJ disorders but in most cases, the exact cause of the condition is not clear. It is suspected that delays in diagnosing jaw joint damage prevent the condition from accurately being tied to a specific incident.
A variety of symptoms may be linked to TMJ disorders. Pain in the chewing muscles and/or jaw joint is the most common symptom. Other symptoms include:
- jaw muscle stiffness
- limited movement or locking of the jaw
- painful clicking, popping, or grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
- a change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
Common Non-surgical TMJ Treatment
For many people, discomfort from TMJ disorders will eventually go away with little or no treatment, similar to soreness or pain in other joints. Some people, however, develop significant, long-term problems.
Simple steps that may help ease symptoms temporarily include:
- eating soft foods
- applying ice packs
- avoiding extreme jaw movements like wide yawning and gum chewing.
The dental specialist performs the proper treatment of facial injuries. These professionals must be well versed in emergency care, acute treatment and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation not just for physical reasons but emotional as well. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma. Injuries to the face, by their very nature, impart a high degree of emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training involving a hands on experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and appearance.