Treatment of Mouth and Jaw Conditions Is Available at Prospect Oral Surgery Center
CARE AND CONCERN: “The scope of my oral surgery practice is extensive. It includes dental implants, surgical placement, restoration, tooth replacement, and surgical extraction. I always do my best for my patients’ well-being,” says Dr. Yuan (Cathy) Hung DDS, FAAOMS. Her practice, Prospect Oral Surgery Center, is located in Monroe Township.
By Jean Stratton
In times past, it was not unusual for individuals to rarely visit a dentist. A toothache or related problem could prompt a dental appointment, but there were certainly no six-month scheduled visits that are commonplace today, and flossing was rarely on anyone’s agenda.
Such poor dental hygiene could result in the loss of many, most, or even all of one’s teeth at relatively young ages. Even today, there are still individuals who, for various reasons, do not see a dentist regularly, and therefore are often subject to a variety of problems.
According to reports from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 69 percent of adults ages 35 to 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth, and 26 percent of adults ages 74 and older have lost all of their permanent teeth.
Nowadays, treatment is available to address many serious dental conditions. Oral (mouth) surgery and maxillofacial (face and jaw) surgery, in particular, can help correct a number of very serious problems.
Medicine and Dentistry
“Oral surgery is a combination of medicine and dentistry — a bridge between medicine and dentistry,” explains Dr. Yuan (Cathy) Hung, DDS, FAAOMS. Her practice, Prospect Oral Surgery Center at 312 Applegarth Road in Monroe Township, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this April.
Originally from Taiwan, Dr. Hung came to the U.S. in 1991 as a student. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and from Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. After four years at Columbia, she then completed a four-year oral and maxillofacial surgery hospital-based residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, affiliated with Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
“Oral surgery requires very demanding, rigorous, and lengthy training, from four to six years, after four years of dental school,” says Dr. Hung. “During my training, I was in a level 1 trauma center, where I worked with jaw and facial fractures, among other serious injuries and conditions.”
An oral and maxillofacial residency includes rotation through related medical fields, such as internal medicine, general surgery, anesthesiology, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, emergency medicine, and other medical specialty areas.
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, “At the conclusion of this demanding program, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are prepared to perform the full scope of the specialty, which encompasses the diagnosis, surgical, and related management of diseases, injuries, and defects that involve both the functional and aesthetic aspects of the oral and maxillofacial regions. This includes prevention, reconstructive, or emergency care of the teeth, mouth, jaws, and associated facial structures.”
Currently, only 15 percent of female dental school graduates are in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery, notes Dr. Hung.
An important area of their training is anesthesiology, she points out. “Some procedures will involve anesthesia, and we can provide this in the office. Not every patient is a candidate for office anesthesia, however, due to an existing medical condition. It is very important that I have the patient’s medical history and current health conditions. I always have a full consultation with the individual about this in case the patient could be medically compromised.”
If there are no contraindications for office anesthesia, Dr. Hung offers in-office intravenous nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) and/or oral sedation. “Our advanced anesthesia provides maximum comfort and safety during your treatment,” she says.
When patients see Dr. Hung, it is usually for conditions, such as impacted wisdom teeth, treatment for infections, restoration of damaged teeth, replacement of missing teeth, TMJ pain, serious malocclusion (bite problems), and diagnosis and treatment of oral lesions, among other concerns.
Most often, patients are referred to her by their primary dentists or physicians.
Dental implants are an integral part of her practice, notes Dr. Hung. A dental implant is integrated into the jawbone, and can last for a very long time. It can replace a single tooth or several teeth, and is considered by many to be a more effective solution than fixed bridges or removable dentures.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial and Surgeons reports that “implants will not affect neighboring healthy teeth or lead to bone loss in the jaw. If properly cared for, dental implants can last a lifetime.”
Bone and Tissue
Wisdom teeth are best removed at an early age, explains Dr. Hung. Usually appearing in an individual between the ages of 17 and 25, they frequently develop cavities, cause periodontal disease, or other serious problems. If they become impacted, they can be more difficult to remove.
“Removing a tooth is trauma to the bone and tissue,” points out Dr. Hung. “I try to minimize the trauma so there is less pain and swelling. Initial healing for wisdom tooth extraction can be two to three weeks. This includes bone healing.”
Dr. Hung always performs a cancer check on every patient, and it is very important that possible problems be found early. “I can help to identify the problem initially, and then a multi-disciplinary team approach, with medical doctors and head and neck surgeons, is beneficial.”
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is another condition that Dr. Hung diagnoses and treats. TMJ disorders are not uncommon, and have a variety of symptoms, including jaw pain, headache, or earache. Sometimes, they are a result of grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep.
“I will do an evaluation for TMJ,” says Dr. Hung, “and this can often be treated with the use of a night guard or physical therapy. Surgery is a last resort.”
Dr. Hung’s patients range in age from 13 to 100, she reports, and are from Princeton and the surrounding area. Insurance coverage varies depending on individual policies.
Her practice includes the latest advances in technology, she notes. “New technologies are developed all the time. For example, the cone beam is a low dose radiation CT scan, and is a step up from panoramic X-ray. It can be very helpful in identifying conditions in the jaw.
“Piezosurgery is a technique used for extractions, bone cuts, and sinus lifts in preparation for implants. I also offer the newest FDA-approved technology, including PRF (plasma rich factors). This helps regenerate jaw bone growth, and this device and technology is now available in our office.”
In addition to her work as a highly skilled oral surgeon, Dr. Hung is an accomplished classical pianist and composer, and she has released original CDs. In an effort to provide patients with a relaxing, unintimidating experience (especially for those with dentist fear and anxiety), she often will have her music playing softly in the background.
She says she looks forward to many more years of assisting her patients. “I enjoy helping people get relief from pain. And I enjoy the challenges I see in the work, and putting the puzzle together to help my patients.”
In recognition of the 10th anniversary of her practice, she is also “looking forward to diversity. I am starting a women’s dentist network, called Morning Glory Women Dentists Network of New Jersey, including meetings with women practitioners to provide them with continuing education and social networking events uniquely designed for working women dentists. In addition, I am in the process of planning speaking engagements in the area.”
What always comes first, however, is her patient care, and this includes continuing education. As she says, “I always stay current on all the latest developments. We customize each patient’s treatment to fit their needs, medical conditions, and past experiences. Optimum oral health for my patients is always the goal.”
For more information, call (609) 860-6369, or visit the website: www.prospectoralsurgery.com.