• An Interview with Dr. John McCabe


    Dr. John McCabe, MD, DDS


    What is an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon and what kind of medical training do they have? 

    An Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon is a dental specialist who has extensive training after dental school. We specialize in the removal of teeth, especially difficult extractions like wisdom teeth, facial trauma, corrective jaw surgery, placement of dental implants, reconstructive jaw surgery, cosmetic surgery, and removal of lesions or pathology from the mouth, face, and jaws.

    Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons are trained by attending dental school for 4 years and have an additional 4 to 6 years of training beyond dental school. Many of them are also trained and receive medical degrees. My training occurred at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City where I performed one year of general surgery and 3 years of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery after completing both medical and dental schools.

    What is the role of an oral surgeon in reconstructive jaw surgery? 

    Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons have a major roll in reconstructive maxillofacial surgery, that is reconstructive of the jaws and face. We are involved in the treatment of facial trauma, particularly facial fractures as well as reconstruction after certain types of surgery for example surgery that is performed to remove cancerous growths or other tumors or cysts of the jaws, mouth and face.

    How is corrective jaw surgery used to treat sleep apnea?

    Corrective Jaw Surgery allows the surgeon to improve the positioning of the jaws and in doing so opens up the airway to prevent recurrent episodes of loss of breathing during sleep and it has been shown to be quite effective in most individuals for the treatment of sleep apnea unlike many other modalities it is actually considered a cure for sleep apnea.

    What are dental implants and what can they be used for? 

    Dental implants are used to replace teeth or to anchor dentures. Many individuals who wear complete denture find them inconvenient and mobile in their mouths. Dental implants can now be used to secure the dentures to these individual in additional, implants are commonly used to as well to replace a single tooth or several teeth allowing the dentist to place crowns or crown and bridge work on one or several dental implants.

    Why are wisdom teeth removed and what is the optimal time to remove them? 

    Wisdom teeth are third molars coming at about the ages of 18 or 19 often times they come in abnormal or impacted positions. Because of their positions they are prone to infection or even damage to the adjacent teeth, movement of other teeth and even have been shown to give rise to tumors and cysts. For this reason, it is often recommended that wisdom teeth be removed. The optimal timing for this is probably best in late adolescent or early adulthood although there is no age limit to when these teeth can be removed. Basically they are removed oftentimes when they become symptomatic or when they are in abnormal positions.

    What are the risk factors for oral cancer and how common is it? 

    Oral Cancer represents about 5% of cancer worldwide. Here at Columbia Dental when a patient presents the patient is screened by the general dentist for an Oral Cancer. If there is any suspicion, the patient would be referred to the Oral Surgeon for diagnosis and perhaps treatment. Oral cancers are associated with smoking, alcohol consumption, and recently human papoloma virus has been associated as a risk factor for the development of Oral Cancer. It is a serious public health problem and needs to be addressed very carefully. If for any reason you have a non healing area or a persistent sore within the oral cavity it is very important to have this evaluated by a professional.

    How does having every dental specialist at Columbia Dental benefit the patient? 

    As an Oral Surgeon, I can access the opinion and services of the Prosthodontist, Endodontist Orthodontist, General Dentist, simply by going down the hall. This is a great benefit for the patient who need not go to another practice for those additional services.

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