Frequently Asked Questions About Oral Surgery

General FAQs

Q: What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS)?

A: An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a specialist in the treatment of disease problems associated with the jaws, teeth, mouth and face. The type of problems that we see may be as simple as a tooth extraction to as complicated as reconstructive or tumor surgery. Educational requirements include graduation from dental school and completion of an approved internship and residency training program which is typically University and hospital based. Dr. Levin Completed his training at UCLA and at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center.

Q: What is Board Certification and is Dr. Levin Board Certified?

A: Board Certification (also known as Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery) is the highest level of academic achievement. It is not a requirement to practice oral surgery however, those individuals who are board certified have demonstrated their capabilities and desires to obtain this level of achievement. To become board certified, an applicant must have completed an approved internship and residency training program, applied to the board and been accepted (board eligible) and complete the exam. Certification is awarded after a rigorous set of exams including a written portion as well as an oral (verbal) portion are passed. Many hospitals and insurance plans are now requiring board certification to participate as a provider. Dr. Levin is Board Certified and has been since 1982.

Q: How can I get an appointment with Dr. Levin? Must I first be referred by another doctor or dentist?

A: Any patient can schedule their own appointment. Please call our office at 714-842-2521 and the staff will be happy to make an appointment for you. If you are referred by someone such as you dentist, doctor etc. please let us know so we can write to them about your care and treatment.

Q: What services do you offer? I have not read your entire web page.

A: We offer a full scope of treatment in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This includes treatment such as extractions, widsom teeth removal, dental implants, TMJ disorders, orthognathic surgery, facial bone fractures (broken jaws), cyst and tumors of the jaws and sleep apnea. We hope that you will take the time to review our site and call us for any additional information.

Q: Do I need a separate consultation or can I be treated the same day?

A: Many patients are seen and treated the same day. This is typical especially for extraction and other simple problems. Complicated problems will require separate consultations.

Q: What about fees and costs? Does your practice accept insurance? What payment options are available?

A: Our fees are competitive with other OMS specialty practices in our area. They are based on an approved fee schedule with Delta Dental of California. This is known as UCR or usual, customary, and reasonable. We have several payment options available. They include cash, checks, Mastercard / Visa, American Express and of course insurance. On an individual basis, payment plans can be established within our office for short-term assistance. We are often able to utilize both medical and dental insurance. It is necessary for you to bring any and all insurance information so we can better advise you of your benefits. Certain insurance plans such as HMOs, PPOs etc. allow for specific treatment only. Any treatment not authorized is at the patient’s expense. We ask that fees for non-covered services be paid on the day the services are provided unless other arrangements can be made.

Post-Operative FAQs

Most of the common questions have been answered on your post-operative instruction sheet. However, the following may be helpful to your particular situation.

Q: I have pain three to four weeks after an extraction. What should I do?

A: Typically, this indicates some type of a localized infection. Please call our office, so Dr. Levin can evaluate this and recommend appropriate treatment.

Q: My lip (and / or tongue) feels numb. What does this mean?

A: Numbness of the lip, tongue, gums, teeth etc. is a common occurrence after lower jaw surgery. It is usually caused by some type of irritation to the nerves involved and over 90% of the time resolves within a few days or weeks. Occasionally, it may take longer to resolve. Fortunately, it is just a feeling sensation and does not cause a muscle weakness. It is however, important for you to have us evaluate this so appropriate recommendations can be made.

Q: My sutures came out. What should I do?

A: We typically use resorbable sutures (stitches). They begin to dissolve within 2-3 days. Its ok for them to come out. If you notice any significant and persistent bleeding please let us know.

Q: How long do the holes in my jaw stay after extractions?

A: The “holes” or better, extraction sockets will generally close within 6 weeks. It will take several months for the sockets to actually fill with bone. If food gets trapped in the socket area, be sure to clean it with the water syringe given to you at the time of your surgery.

Q: I have terrible bad breath after the surgery. Does this mean I have an infection?

A: No. The bad breath is from stuff getting into the socket area. Be sure to keep the surgery site clean and this should resolve.

Q: I recently had to have my jaws wired closed and now I either cut my wires or the wires / rubber bands broke. What should I do

A: Come in as soon as possible. The jaws can only heal if they do not move and the wires / rubber bands help prevent movement. The wires / rubber bands need to be replaced.

Q: I am getting a lot of pain in my ear. Is this normal?

A: Pain in the ear is generally referred pain from the lower jaw. This is normal and will resolve as the extraction site heals.

And finally….

Q: How many times in a day is Dr. Levin told he looks just like Richard Dreyfus?

A: This is a well-kept secret, but typically too many to count!