Oral Surgery

Oral Surgery

Precision Surgical Science. Fast Recovery.

At River Valley Dental, we are pleased to have Oral Surgeon on staff!  Dr. Tom Thompson is our resident Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon and offers several specialized treatments.

About Our Oral Surgery Services:



dr-tom-thompsonMeet Our Oral Surgeon

Dr. Tom Thompson

Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

Quick Facts:

  • Born and raised in Kentucky
  • 25 years experience as an Oral Surgeon
  • US Navy Veteran – Captain
  • University of Kentucky College of Dentistry

Read more about Dr. Tom Thompson.

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Bone Grafting

Whether you are in the pre-planning stages for dental implants, or are seeking to correct a congenital jaw defect or injury, a bone grafting procedure can help restore sufficient bone tissue within the jaw and promote proper functioning. Bone grafting can improve a patient’s physical appearance by reinforcing the jawbone and restoring appropriate shape and contouring. Many patients require this procedure prior to dental implant surgery in order to restore an adequate amount of healthy bone tissue to support the posts.

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Soft Tissue Regeneration

Loss of hard and soft tissue can create functional and aesthetic problems that interfere with normal chewing. Bone loss can lead to physical changes in the structure of your face, affecting both your appearance and function. In addition, wearing dentures or placing dental implants can be very difficult without adequate supporting structure.

The gums also help to provide you with a beautiful, confident smile. When your gums recede, your oral health, and your appearance are affected. We can now restore recessed gum tissue with soft tissue regeneration.

What Causes Gum Recession?

  • Gum disease. This is the most common cause. As swollen tissue pulls away from the teeth, it begins to die, causing the gum line to recede.
  • Aggressive brushing.
  • Alignment issues with your teeth.
  • Bruxism.
  • Using tobacco products.
  • Genetics.

L-PRF, or leukocyte platelet rich fibrin, can also be used to help regenerate new tissue. With this treatment, a small sample of your blood is drawn and spun through a centrifuge. As the blood spins, it separates. A fibrin matrix forms in the center of the sample and collects the platelets, which contain growth factors responsible for tissue healing and growth. The fibrin clots are removed from the sample and pressed to remove excess water, leaving thin membranes. These membranes can be used following a soft tissue graft to encourage faster healing or can simply be placed over the areas of recession to aid in the regeneration of new soft tissue.


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Surgical Tooth Extraction

Do you have a tooth in pain? Or one that is cracked or damaged? If the tooth cannot be repaired with a filling, crown or cap, then a tooth extraction may be required. Tooth extraction is the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone. Your comfort is our primary goal. We provide both simple extractions as well as surgical extractions of badly decayed teeth or impacted teeth.

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Impacted Wisdom Tooth Removal

If your wisdom tooth doesn’t have room to grow, this can cause a myriad of dental problems, including infections, chronic pain, and irritation. If you’ve been experiencing pain in the back of your gums, it may be time to visit the dentist to see if you need wisdom teeth extractions.

Before the extraction, you’ll meet with us to discuss your wisdom teeth extraction procedure. We may determine that you’re an ideal candidate for the extraction due to chronic pain or infections. We may even recommend undergoing a wisdom tooth extraction procedure even if you’re not experiencing any pain, as this can avoid future problems.

Video: Wisdom Teeth

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Pathology/Biopsy for Oral Cancer

As with many other conditions and diseases of the oral cavity, the chances of successful treatment of oral cancer are much better if it is detected in the earliest stages. Oral cancers are the most prevalent form of disease in the head and neck, and early stages typically do not present painful or discomforting symptoms. This is why it is important to check for oral cancer even if no symptoms are apparent. If oral cancer screenings detect any abnormalities, our surgeons can perform a biopsy for a more thorough analysis, and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

An Oral Cancer Biopsy Can Help You Receive the Prompt, Specialized Care That You Need

The Oral Cancer Foundation reports that nearly 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year. As with any form of cancer, the survival rate for oral cancer is highest among those who receive treatment in the earliest stages of the disease. However, oral cancer often does not present symptoms in the early stages, making regular screenings essential.

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Soft Tissue Grafting

Soft Tissue Grafting is recommended when you have gum recession that has left the root of a tooth exposed, or you’re at risk of root exposure due to recession. Soft Tissue Grafting is a common procedure that is intended to recreate your gum line and prevent further deterioration of the gums, while enhancing the appearance of your smile.

Gum recession can be caused by:

  • Aggressive brushing
  • Gum disease
  • Gum tissue that is naturally thin
  • Previous orthodontic treatments
  • Previous tooth loss

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Reconstructive Surgery

Reconstructive surgery repairs injuries and corrects conditions that affect the oral and maxillofacial regions. In general, it involves rebuilding part of the mouth, jaws, or face to help patients gain a normal appearance. Trauma from falls and other accidents, and the surgical removal of cancer are typical reasons for this type of surgery. Our doctors use advanced techniques to help restore function as well as appearance.

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Sinus Lift

Sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull. There are 4 different sinuses. In the center of your forehead above the bridge of your nose are the Frontal Sinuses, between your eyes are the Ethmoid Sinuses, in the bones behind your nose are the Sphenoid Sinuses and finally in your cheekbones on either side of your nose you will find the Maxillary sinuses.

A sinus lift may be necessary if there is not enough bone height to support an implant in the upper jaw in the area of the back teeth (molars). It may also be required if the Maxillary Sinuses are too close to the jaw. During the procedure, an incision is made and the Maxillary Sinuses are lifted in order to make room to place the bone graft material into the proper place where more bone is needed. After this is accomplished, the incision is stitched up and you will heal over the next few months while the new bone integrates with your own natural bone.

Sinus augmentation is “technique sensitive,” and should be performed only by an appropriately trained oral surgeon.

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Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery or Orthognathic surgery is often performed to correct an improper bite and misaligned jaws, due to differences in growth rates in the upper vs. lower jaw, injury, and birth defects. Although orthodontics can correct some bite problems for your teeth you may also require corrective jaw surgery. This type of surgery can enhance a person’s appearance dramatically, but its main purpose is to correct a persons functional problems.

Symptoms that should be evaluated at the time of consultation are:

  • Difficulty biting, chewing, or swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Open bite (inability to make lips close comfortably)
  • Protruding jaw
  • Breathing problems or sleep apnea
  • Receding chin

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Gingival Sculpting – Crown Lengthening

Crown lengthening can be used for aesthetic or functional purposes. For patients with a “gummy smile”, crown lengthening can reveal more of the tooth by recontouring or reshaping the gums.

In some instances, the tooth may be broken near the gum line, but may require a restoration. In this case, the doctor may recommend crown lengthening to reveal more of the tooth allowing for secure placement of the restoration.

Don’t let a gummy smile prevent you from sharing your smile!

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