The National Opioid Crisis And Our Practice’s Approach To Reducing Post Surgical Use Following Wisdom Teeth Surgery


You should have a say in how your pain is treated after surgery. The majority of patients receive an opioid medication after surgery.  While opioids have been a mainstay in post-surgical pain control, they are also at the center of an ongoing national crisis. 1 out of 15 surgical patients goes on to long-term opioid use. In addition, 4 out of 5 new Heroin users started out by misusing opioids. Even when opioids are used responsibly, they are associated with side effects (nausea, vomiting, constipation) which can complicate recovery after surgery. As a result, most patients prefer non-opioid options following surgery.

The doctors at East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery have recently introduced Exparel into our practice. Exparel is a non-opioid medication that provides longer-lasting pain relief so patients can reduce or avoid opioid medications after surgery. Exparel is injected adjacent to the incision sites during your surgery. The medication utilizes extended-release technology to deliver pain relief to the surgical sites over the next 72 hours. The most common procedure that Exparel is being administered for is Wisdom Teeth Surgery. However, we have also utilized the medication for dental implant surgery, TMJ surgery, and multiple tooth extraction procedures. We have received very favorable feedback from our patients, parents, and medical/dental colleagues, and we are very excited to continue to offer Exparel to our patients.

During your initial consultation appointment, we will determine whether you are a candidate for Exparel, and we will offer strategies for pain management to help ease your concerns. You will have the opportunity to discuss your options with your surgeon to select a strategy that works for you. Our practice strives to remain at the cutting edge of medical and dental technology to improve the lifestyle and health of our patients. Our goal is to utilize Exparel to reduce opioid use, decrease post-surgical discomfort, and allow our patients to experience an easier surgical recovery.

TMJ Disorders: More Common Than You Think


The American Dental Association reports that 15% of Americans are affected by Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear on each side of the head and allows the lower jaw to move and function. Each joint works in close collaboration together and with ligaments, muscles, and cartilage to allow for activities such as chewing, talking and swallowing.

TMJ disorders are relatively common, and most patients experience symptoms such as earaches, headaches, jaw clicking, and limitations in jaw opening and range of motion. TMJ disorders can occur when there are disturbances or disruptions in the normal anatomy or physiology of the bones, muscles, ligaments, or cartilage involved in the functional temporomandibular joint complex. Causes of TMJ disorders can include teeth grinding or clenching, stress, trauma, arthritis, dislocation, or jaw misalignment.

Proper evaluation and diagnosis are very critical in treatment. Like most health problems, early detection is essential. Often, patients are referred to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon by their dentist or physician for assessment of a potential TMJ disorder. After examination and x-rays, further specialty imaging (CT scan or MRI) may be suggested for further investigation. Most patients improve with nonsurgical treatment. These recommendations can include eating a soft diet, taking short term nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, splint therapy, stress management, and physical therapy. In severe cases of teeth grinding, Botox treatment has assisted patients by slightly weakening their clenching muscles leading to a significant decrease in the intensity of teeth grinding. As a result, there is less stress and pain on these muscles.

When nonsurgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is significant damage to the joint, surgical intervention may be indicated. Surgery can involve an open joint surgery or an arthroscopy (a minimally invasive procedure performed with utilization of a camera and small instruments).

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely, and treatment takes adequate time to be effective. East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Visit our website for more information.


It is time to consider options other than dentures because you deserve the best.  
More of our patients are selecting dental implants to replace their missing teeth.

TEETH-IN-A-DAY is a revolutionary concept providing patients with fully functioning teeth on dental implants in one single procedure that lasts about a few hours.  This innovative process involves collaboration with an experienced surgeon, your dentist, and a member of our laboratory team.  We work with only highly skilled professionals and utilize products that have proven results.  Teeth-in-a-day involves the precise placement of dental implants into your jaw to provide stability for your new teeth.  A new prosthesis is then temporarily fastened to the dental implants.  Over the next four to six months, you will continue to utilize this set up of stabilized teeth while your implants heal.  During this process, your dental implants will begin to fuse to the jaw bone and heal.  Once your surgeon confirms the jaw bone is healed, a final permanent set of teeth will be fixated to the implants providing a wonderful cosmetic and functional solution.

Teeth-in-a-day can offer predictable results when performed by skilled professionals. It is quite remarkable how a simple procedure can improve self-confidence, show a more youthful appearance, improve speech and social interaction, and allow people to finally begin eating the healthy and delicious foods that they once enjoyed.  Furthermore, we are able to eliminate the daily frustrations and embarrassment faced by patients with missing teeth.

Please contact our office to schedule a consult with one of our board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Pediatric and Adolescent Oral Surgery

All of our patients deserve quality dental care with the highest standards.  We strive to establish positive treatment experiences during an individual’s developmental years to help shape a favorable outlook towards future dental and medical care.  When choosing an oral surgeon for your child, it is essential that you select a practice that is experienced, knowledgeable, and comfortable with pediatric dental and medical health.  Your child’s oral surgery treatment is very important to us, and our board certified surgeons pride themselves in being the region’s premier specialists in pediatric and adolescent oral and maxillofacial surgery.  Our staff and doctors want your child to feel safe, confident, and comfortable by explaining treatment clearly and encouraging their questions.

Tooth Extractions:

Baby Teeth may require removal if they develop cavities that are too large for dental fillings.  The extensive decay on these teeth can cause severe pain and infection.  

In addition, we often remove Baby Teeth to help minimize crowding of growing Adult Teeth.  In the event a Baby Tooth is delayed in falling out on its own, removal of one or more Baby Teeth is required to ensure that the underlying Adult Teeth can come into the mouth in normal position.  

Lastly, we will often receive a referral from your child’s orthodontist for removal of Adult Teeth to facilitate orthodontic treatment when correcting significant dental crowding.  These teeth are typically Adult Premolar Teeth and are removed to help create space to assist in tooth alignment. 

Exposure of Impacted Canines:

When a permanent canine tooth (“eye tooth”) is not able to grow completely into the mouth due to crowding or poor positioning, we are able to perform an exposure procedure for the tooth to allow it to erupt as it would naturally.  This minor surgery is performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment.  Depending on the positioning, a small bracket is placed on the impacted tooth to allow your child’s orthodontist to place traction on the tooth to guide it into its correct position.  The procedure is quite simple and associated with minimal discomfort.  


A Frenectomy is performed to treat a child who is “tongue tied.”  Tongue Tie can be caused when a thick band of tissue on the undersurface of the tongue restricts tongue movement and range of motion.  This can lead a child to have difficulty speaking and eating, and can cause recession of the gums or gaps in between front teeth.  Evaluation and treatment for this condition is important since Tongue Tie can affect a child’s confidence and the ability to achieve developmental milestones.  The Frenectomy procedure is a very minimally invasive procedure, and any stitches that are placed will fall out on their own.  

Sedation and Anesthesia:

Your child’s safety and comfort are our primary concern.  There are several anesthesia options that we are able to offer our pediatric patients.  At the initial consultation appointment, we will review your child’s health history, discuss treatment and anesthesia options, and provide our recommendations.  A complex medical history or extensive oral surgery treatment will sometimes require procedures to be performed in a hospital.  Rest assured, this process is easy and an overnight stay is rarely required. Our doctors are proud to be on active staff at East Georgia Regional Medical Center and Emanuel Medical Center.       

Accelerated Orthodontics

Your Smile Is Your First Impression.

        Your Smile Is Your First Impression

Your smile is your first impression and is very important to you!  Many patients resist improving their smile or correcting their bite with conventional orthodontic treatment due to the number of years that are dedicated to traditional braces.  Accelerated Orthodontics is an advanced revolutionary approach to help rapidly transform your smile in months!  Accelerated Orthodontics is when braces or Invisalign are applied by an orthodontist in conjunction with minor oral surgery to decrease the time needed for correction.  This technique can be utilized in orthodontic patients of all ages, has been well-researched, and is an expanding trend in the field of dentistry.

With Propel or Piezotome instrumentation and a CT scan, our surgeons can precisely place small perforations in gums and bone to allow teeth to shift into the correct place more quickly.  The surgical procedure will involve a few days of soreness, but the obvious benefit is the vast reduction in time necessary to wear braces.  The procedure also has the ability to create better long term stability of your teeth by strengthening the bone and gum tissue.  In addition, since teeth shift faster, treatment will require weekly trips to the orthodontist rather than the monthly trips involved with conventional orthodontic treatment.

Furthermore, this impressive technique can serve two additional purposes:

First, orthodontic treatment can sometimes require removal of up to four healthy adult premolar teeth to correct crowding.  We are now able to offer alternatives to this option so patients can keep the teeth that once required removal in the past.

Secondly, some patients with excessive or deficient jaw growth require corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) to realign their jaws, correct their bite, and treat their skeletal discrepancy.  We are now able to incorporate the Accelerated Orthodontic treatment protocol to eliminate more invasive jaw surgery in some of our patients.

Accelerated Orthodontics is a very effective and convenient treatment option when performed by an experienced and well-informed oral and facial surgeon and orthodontist.  At East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, our board certified surgeons pride themselves in staying abreast with advances in dentistry and medicine to provide our patients with numerous treatment options for their dental treatment.

Not only is orthodontic treatment effective in creating an esthetic smile, but it is also an instrumental treatment modality in correcting your bite to help prevent facial pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorders.  Please feel free to speak with your dentist or orthodontist regarding Accelerated Orthodontics, or contact our office to set up a consultation with one of our specialists to determine if you are a candidate for Accelerated Orthodontics.  Feel good about yourself and feel good about your smile!

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Dental Implants: Best Treatment Option for Missing Teeth

Dental ImplantsDental implants are the best treatment option for missing teeth and more patients are taking advantage of this expanding technology.  Dental implants are able to replace one or several missing teeth.  They are gently placed into your jawbone by an oral and facial surgeon and are embedded there just like your natural teeth.  Rather than having a removable denture that rests on your gums or having to compromise your adjacent teeth as anchors for fixed bridges, dental implants are secure, predictable, and the best long-term replacement for missing teeth.

Our patients are extremely pleased with their decision to pursue dental implants.  It is quite remarkable how a very quick and easy procedure can improve self-confidence, allow individuals to finally begin eating the healthy and delicious foods that they once enjoyed, improve speech, and provide a more youthful appearance.  Furthermore, implants eliminate the daily frustrations faced by patients with missing teeth.

At East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, Drs. Suketu Patel, Rod Uribe, and Mark Clayton are board certified specialists who have broad expertise in dental implant placement.   We work with some of the finest general dentists in our area to provide you with the results that you deserve.   We are well-known and trusted by our patients and colleagues for our ability to deliver successful outcomes for the most challenging and difficult scenarios.

During your initial visit, your surgeon will evaluate your medical history, perform an examination, and review your x-rays.  In addition, we have CT scanners at both of our offices and utilize the latest cutting edge technology to allow your surgery to be more predictable, take less time, and allow you to have a faster and healthier recovery.  Often, we are even able to place implants without making incisions or placing stitches!

Let us assist you in creating a healthy and beautiful smile.  For more information, please visit our website or contact our office to set up your consultation for dental implants.


613 East Grady Street
Statesboro, GA 30458

Phone: 912-764-5435
Fax: 912-764-9789


6 Medical Office Way
Swainsboro, GA 30401

Phone: 478-419-2100
Fax: 478-419-2300

Wisdom Teeth Causing Problems for Your Children?

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With summer break fast approaching, now is the time to schedule your children’s wisdom teeth removal.

As the summer approaches, many teenagers and young adults utilize their break from school to schedule a suitable time to have their wisdom teeth evaluated.  Studies show that 90% of patients will have a wisdom tooth removed in their lifetime.  Wisdom teeth do not require removal if they are able to grow into one’s mouth completely and functionally, and are painless, cavity-free, disease-free, and surrounded by healthy gum tissue.  Often, this is not the case and wisdom teeth are unable to completely break through the gum tissue.  These types of teeth are classified as “impacted” and they are prone to disease even if one experiences no pain or symptoms.  

Wisdom teeth can lead to spontaneous pain, gum disease, damage to neighboring teeth, formation of aggressive cysts or tumors, and serious or potential life-threatening infections.  

Wisdom teeth are typically removed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.  Surgery involves low risks, and complications are minimized when surgery is performed between the ages of 15-25 years.  At East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, Dr. Rod Uribe, Dr. Mark Clayton, and Dr. Suketu Patel are board certified surgeons who specialize in wisdom teeth extraction and the administration of intravenous sedation to help make your experience safe and comfortable.  Please visit our website,, or call our office to schedule a consultation.

Free Screening During Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

In honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery will be offering free oral cancer screenings on:

  • Saturday, April 9th
  • 9am to 12pm
  • 613 East Grady Street, Statesboro,
  • Screenings are simple, painless, and quick (10 minutes). We look forward to seeing you! 

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  Approximately 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year and only 57% of these newly diagnosed patients will survive after 5 years.  While oral cancer is most commonly found in those who have heavily utilized tobacco products throughout their lives, it can also be diagnosed in young individuals or those who have never smoked a single cigarette.  Additional risk factors include exposure to ultraviolet radiation, alcohol use, and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV16).

Often, oral cancer goes unnoticed by patients in the early stages and thus, does not become diagnosed until late in their development.  The American Dental Association recommends a visit with your dentist at least every six months.  If your general dentist finds a suspicious lesion or mass, they will likely refer you to a surgeon for a consultation.   Based on the surgeon’s assessment, a biopsy may be performed or the concerning lesion may be observed for a short period of time.   Once cancer is diagnosed, treatment may involve surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of modalities.

Current research is focused on understanding phases of cancer development and applying new therapies for treatment.  For now, minimizing risk factors and early detection are crucial in achieving the best prognosis.


Paying It Forward With Dentistry From The Heart

Dentistry From The Heart 2016

Dr. Patel and Dr. Marz

On December 18, Dr. Rod Uribe and I teamed up with Dr. Rich Marz for the 3rd Annual Statesboro Dentistry From The Heart.  This tradition has become a day where East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery assists in spreading smiles throughout our great community by providing free dental care to those in need.  Our team finds it especially rewarding participating in this event during the Holiday Season.  The patients provide plenty of gratitude, handshakes, hugs, and tears that always leave a warm feeling in our hearts.   This year, East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery provided $10,000 in surgical treatment!  We can’t wait to participate in next year’s Dentistry From The Heart, and plan to continue our support for the Statesboro, Swainsboro, and surrounding communities throughout the year.

Anesthesia: Methods Available for Your Comfort

Patel-Uribe looking at fileAt East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, we offer several methods of anesthesia to help alleviate any apprehension you may have for your procedure. Our experienced doctors and skilled staff aim to keep you and your loved ones safe and comfortable during surgery. During their residency training, oral and maxillofacial surgeons typically complete 4-6 months of rigorous adult and pediatric anesthesia rotations to supplement their surgical training. In addition, many oral and maxillofacial surgeons enroll in medical school and obtain a medical degree (MD) in order to broaden their understanding of medical, surgical, and anesthetic principles. During your initial consultation, your oral surgeon will review your procedure and medical history to help you choose the most suitable method of anesthesia for your surgery.

Methods of Anesthesia:

Local Anesthesia: The patient is completely conscious throughout the procedure and involves the administration of a local anesthetic (ie. Lidocaine) to numb the area where surgery will be performed. Local anesthesia is typically chosen for simple procedures in minimally apprehensive patients.

Nitrous Oxide Sedation with Local Anesthesia: Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) is administered through a small nasal breathing mask. The patient remains conscious, but is in a relaxed condition. Local anesthetic is still given to further keep the patient comfortable during the surgery. Nitrous Oxide has a mild sedative and pain-controlling effect during the procedure. The sedation is completely reversed after the procedure by breathing oxygen for 5 minutes. This allows the patient to drive home and resume their daily activities rather quickly. Nitrous Oxide benefits patients who are moderately apprehensive and are undergoing simple or more involved surgical procedures.

Intravenous Anesthesia
Intravenous (I.V.) medications are administered to help the patient fall asleep and be completely unaware of the procedure being performed. Prior to surgery, the oral surgeon will perform a thorough evaluation of the heart, lungs, and airway. Vital signs are monitored in compliance with the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and our office utilizes the most updated and state of the art monitoring to keep our patients safe during their procedure. Our excellent staff have specialized anesthesia certification and regularly participate in anesthesia training in our office and courses throughout the country. Intravenous anesthesia is given for advanced and longer surgeries or in very apprehensive patients. Wisdom teeth are commonly removed with this method of anesthesia.

Please visit our website,, or call our office to schedule a consultation at 912.764.5435 (Statesboro, GA) and 478.419.2100 (Swainsboro, GA).

Suketu J. Patel DMD, MD