Chapin Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Why Choose an Oral Surgeon?

When it comes to oral surgery, a dentist will refer a patient to an oral surgeon when necessary dental work is outside of their general practice scope. But what makes an oral surgeon different or more qualified to perform the procedure than a dentist?


What’s the difference between a dentist and an oral surgeon?


Both dentists and oral surgeons complete four years of undergrad before attending dental school, where they complete an additional four years of schooling. Future dentists take classes in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, and oral anatomy, pathology, and histology as well as complete several years of clinical work. Following dental school, oral surgeons complete an additional minimum of four years in a hospital-based surgical residency program specializing in becoming an oral surgeon.


Most oral surgeons complete an average total of 12 to 14 years of schooling at the college level and beyond before beginning their practice.


In our practice, Dr. Hairr received his undergrad at NC State University, graduated from the Dental School at the University of Tennessee, and completed his Oral Surgery Residency at the University of Florida, spending four years at each school.


Dentists will also generally focus on basic dental exams, fillings, crowns, sealants, root canals, and gum care. Oral surgeons, in comparison, specialize in things like wisdom teeth removal, bone grafting to jaws, sinus grafts, jaw fractures, removal of cysts of tumors, jaw surgery, biopsies, Deep IV Sedation, and complicated implant cases.


My dentist can perform the procedure in his or her office—why should I see an oral surgeon instead?


An oral surgeon is better suited to be able to manage any complications that may arise from a surgery that he or she performs. While a dentist may feel comfortable performing a dental surgery procedure on you, he or she may not be able to manage the possible complications. Oral surgeons have completed the additional schooling and training to make them experts in their field and, because they perform these types of surgeries on a daily basis, they are extremely familiar and proficient in the procedure.


In his Oral Residency, Dr. Hairr saw and dealt with the worst of the worst situations and saw a wide range of conditions. He is more aware of how medical problems and medications can affect treatment. He was taught to recognize and quickly deal with complications that may arise during any procedure performed in our office, ensuring positive outcomes for each of our patients.


In addition, our team is extensively trained in anesthesia and we can help even the most nervous and anxious patients feel calm and at ease in our office.


At the end of the day, your dentist will refer you to the oral surgeon that they trust for any dental procedure that they feel an oral surgeon would be better suited for. If your dentist refers you to our office, give us a call, and we’ll happily schedule a consultation with you to walk you through the process and help you feel at ease about your procedure.

Our Favorite Children’s Books About Teeth

The Christmas tress have been decorated, the stockings have been hung, and everyone is eagerly counting down the days until Christmas. Have you finished all of your Christmas shopping yet? If you’re looking for some ideas for what to put underneath the tree for your children this year, we have a few book recommendations for you!
Did you know? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his or her first birthday. We believe that it’s never too early to begin teaching your children about teeth and how to care for them.
We have compiled a list of our favorite children’s books about teeth and visiting the dentist. Here are four of the ones that would be perfect to wrap up and place under the tree or put in your child’s stocking this Christmas.
The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss
Image via Amazon 
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan & Jan Berenstain
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Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer
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Pete the Cat and the Lost Tooth by James Dean
Image via Amazon
Tell us what your favorites are! We’d love to hear what you’re reading with your children.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us here at Chapin Oral Surgery!

Bone Grafting Q&A

Bone grating, despite sounding ominous, is a fairly simple procedure that we’re able to perform right here in our office. It always brings up questions though so today, we wanted to take the time to answer a few of the most common ones for you.

– What exactly is bone grafting?
Bone grafting is a procedure performed to increase the volume of bone in a given area.

– Why would I need to have a bone graft?
Bone grafts are most commonly used to create bone for implant placement, but grafting can also be done to correct defects in the jaw bone or around the teeth.

– How does the procedure work?
Bone grafting can be done with the patient’s bone or with donor bone. When a patient uses their own bone, the bone is first harvested from another site. This could be from either the chin or the back of the jaw bone. Donor bone is most commonly used. This bone comes from tissue banks. Donated tissue is purified, freeze dried, and sometimes de-mineralized. The process removes all material that the patient’s body would recognize as foreign. Once the bone graft material is obtained (whether from the patient or a donor), it is placed into the area where the bone is deficient. After the procedure, the graft is allowed to heal for several months before it is mature.

– How long is the typical recovery from a bone graft?
The first phase of recovery is swelling and discomfort, which is usually better within a week. After that, the process of healing is fairly silent. It takes anywhere from 4 to 6 months before the graft is mature.

– Are there any substitutions to bone grafting?
Since most grafting is for implants, there can sometimes be alternatives. If all of a person’s teeth are being replaced with implants, it is possible to place implants into areas of existing thick bone. These implants are often angled as to take advantage of areas of good bone. This is sometimes referred to as “Pro Arch” or “All on 4”. For single teeth sites, we can sometimes do “ridge splitting” or “ridge spreading”. This is where the existing bone is spread out, and the implant is placed into the spread out bone.

Did we answer all of your questions? If not, let us know! We’ll be happy to discuss any questions or concerns with you.

Summer Around Chapin

It’s no secret: we think that living and working in Chapin, SC is pretty great. One of our favorite parts about Chapin is it’s close proximately to Lake Murray, especially during the summer. There are so many great activities and festivals to take part in around our town and out on the lake.
What do you plan to do this summer? Here are a few of our suggestions:
Chapin Downtown Farmer’s Market – held on the 1st Saturday of each month through October from 8:30-11:00am in the 100 block of Clark Street. Catch the market on August 5, September 2, & October 7.
Chapin Labor Day Festival & Parade – head downtown on Monday, September 4 and watch the Labor Day Parade, check out the Classic Car Show, and live music. There is something for everyone at this family friendly event.
Lake Murray Paddle Classic – the 6th Annual Lake Murray Paddle Classic is being held this year on Saturday, September 30. Paddlers of all types (SUP, OC, Kayak, etc) are welcome to compete in a variety of races. Race proceeds benefit the South Carolina Special Olympics.
Palmetto Trail – take a drive out to Peak, SC to hike, run, or bike along the Broad River Trestle on the Peak to Prosperity Passage of the Palmetto Trail
Happy Summer! Be sure to share with us all of the things you do this summer the next time that you’re in our office.

We’ve Got the Answers for You

We’ve heard a lot of questions in our office from our patients over the years. Some questions are quick and easy to answer and some are more complex and require knowledge of a particular patient’s medical history. Some questions are even the same questions that we hear frequently from our patients. Today, we want to answer some of those frequently asked questions for you.

– Do oral surgeons do veneers, crowns, dentures or fillings?

No. Although oral surgeons graduate from dental school, we go through an additional four years of training and specialization in oral and facial surgery. Our practice does not include general dentistry because our focus is in oral and facial surgery rather than dentistry.

– If I take an antibiotic and the symptoms of tooth pain go away, does the tooth still need to come out?

Yes. The antibiotics may have fought off the infection and relieved you of your symptoms, but it is only a temporary fix. The source of the infection is still there if the tooth is not removed and the infection will inevitably return.

– I am over 65 years old. Aren’t I too old for dental implants?

No. Age is not a limiting factor when it comes to placing implants. I hear many people say that they are “too old” for implants or that they “shouldn’t be spending money on such things.” I think that the improved quality of life is worth it, and that you shouldn’t limit yourself based on your age.

– My wisdom teeth don’t hurt so do I have to get them removed?

This will vary on a case-by-case basis but we evaluate the risk factors and the pathology of the teeth for each patient. Wisdom teeth have the ability to cause irreversible gum disease without causing a lot of pain in the process.

Did we answer any of the questions that you have about oral surgery?? If not, give us a call or write them down for your next visit with us. We are more than happy to discuss any questions or concerns that you might have!

3D CT guided implant surgery – Why having the right technology makes all the difference.

Before CT guided implant surgeries, surgeons would plan their dental implant placement off of a study model and panoramic radiograph. They would lay a large flap to visualize the bony anatomy and place the implants to engage the greatest volume of bone. After six months, they would uncover the implants and send the patient to their restorative dentist and hope that the implant fixtures were positioned well enough to be restored. Sometimes they were. Sometimes they were not,
in which case, the implant would be “buried” and never restored.

3D CT-guided dental implant surgery virtually eliminates these problems. Because the surgeon can better understand the size and position of the ideal restoration, they can use a 3D radiograph of the jaws to plan the implant placement sites, taking into account the bone volume, as well as the position of the prosthesis. If the bone is found to be weak or is lacking mass, it may require bone grafting. Due to the technology, this information is known before surgery and adjustments are made accordingly. This work is all done on a computer screen using the patient’s actual data.
All of the patients data is then used to create a custom surgical plan that accurately correlates from the computer screen to the patient’s mouth. This technique allows the surgery to be performed through a very small incision, in half the time of traditional implant surgery. In addition, the patient usually has a faster and more comfortable recovery, even when multiple implants are placed.

The goal of tooth replacement therapy with dental implants is to give the patient a functional and aesthetic prosthesis to restore their chewing function and self-confidence. 3D CT guided implant technology is one of the greatest contributions to the dental surgery profession.

When and Why to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

“My wisdom teeth don’t hurt, so they don’t need to be removed.”

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teen age year as to prevent potential problems, and because that is when the risks for removal are lowest. While many people do have their wisdom teeth removed at that age, many people wait until they are much older. Sometimes this is because the person had no other choice, or maybe because the person was unaware of any need to have the procedure performed.

Some people live by the saying “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”. While this is a true statement in many situations, it can be a very damaging philosophy when applied to wisdom teeth. It is possible for wisdom teeth to cause damage without causing symptoms. When symptoms arise, the damage is often extensive.

One example of this are cysts that form around impacted teeth. This cyst below has invaded the space of a nerve, eroded the bone of the adjacent teeth, and has greatly thinned out the jaw bone. The jaw bone is so thin, that the patient is at risk for jaw fracture. When this cyst was removed, the adjacent teeth were also removed. Since the bone was so thin, hardware had to be placed on the jaw as to prevent jaw fracture.

Wisdom teeth often “block” your ability to perform oral hygiene around your 2nd molars. This predisposes the 2nd molars to tooth decay and periodontal disease. The picture here shows a wisdom tooth lying sideways and pressing into the 2nd molar. There is periodontal disease and tooth decay on the second molar because of the wisdom tooth. Periodontal disease is loss of gums and bone around the teeth.

The other unfortunate thing about this situation is that the roots of the wisdom tooth are near a nerve canal. This nerve is now at risk of damage from removal of the wisdom tooth. The roots of wisdom teeth are typically not through developing in the teen age years; therefore, this risk is greatly minimized.
Not all people have to get their wisdom teeth removed, but most people do. If you decide to keep your wisdom teeth, then they should be closely monitored by your dentist.

The Secret about Juvéderm

It’s not a secret your face changes with age. Fine lines appear and wrinkles form as skin loses it’s elasticity. Sometimes cheeks lose their fullness and lips lose their plumpness. This can make people appear older than they actually are. How many times have you seen an old friend or a photo of someone the same age as you that looks years younger? What if you could change the way you felt about yourself when you looked in the mirror every morning?

Dr. Hairr is a Maxillofacial surgeon and knows faces really well. He is now offering a service that diminishes wrinkles, plumps and enhances lips through a product called Juvéderm. Juvéderm is a dermal filler, an injectable gel made from naturally occurring sugar found in the human body. It contains an anesthetic to help reduce discomfort during your treatment.
Dr. Hairr loves to make his patients happy and offering juvéderm is just another means to do so. 90% of people experience an increase in satisfaction with their facial appearance and are perceived to look 5 years younger!
I had juvederm injected in my lips and felt no pain. Dr. Hairr made sure I was comfortable. The medical assistant was supportive while I was in the room with her as well as friendly and kind. I loved the outcome my lips look very natural and plump!” – Kate

Juvéderm is non-surgical, known for providing instant results and delivering natural-looking results. These results last several months, depending on the location and product type used.
Dr. Hairr is excited to offer this service to his patients because they leave feeling great about themselves. They gain confidence and never feel embarrassed. Juvéderm has a slogan, “Everyone will notice, none will know”.

Dental Implants

Did you know that millions of Americans suffer from tooth loss? Until several years ago, the only option for those who suffered from tooth loss were bridges or dentures. Now many people opt to have dental implants done. Some may not be very familiar with what a dental implant is. Dental implants are essentially replacement tooth roots. They are posts that are surgically positioned into your jawbone, underneath your gums. Putting these posts into place allow your dentist to then put your replacement teeth in.

Dental implants are made of a titanium alloy that literally fuses to the jaw bone. Implant surgery may take 1 procedure to complete, but sometimes more procedures are needed.

1. If there is not adequate bone for implant placement, then bone grafting may be needed. Graft material is generally taken from donor tissue banks, and does not require bone harvest from the patient. Once grafting has been done, the graft will take several months to heal. The goal of this procedure is to create bone for an implant to go in to.

2. If there is adequate bone (or if grafting is complete), the implant may be placed into the jaw bone. If the implant is stable and the bone quality is good, then we may be able to place the “healing abutment” on the implant at the time of implant placement. The healing abutment creates the connection from the implant to the mouth. Once the implant is placed, it undergoes osseointegration (this is where the implant fuses to the bone). Osseointegration typically takes a few months.

3. If we are unable to place the “healing abutment” when we place the implant, we place it after the implant is through with osseointegration. This is a simple procedure typically done with local anesthesia (numbing). The gums are remove from the very top of the implant, and the healing abutment is placed.  This will allow your general dentist access to place the crown (prosthetic tooth) on the implant.

There are many benefits to having dental implants which include:

  1. Improved comfort
  2. Improved appearance
  3. Better oral health
  4. Durability
  5. Easier eating
Dental implants are designed to provide a foundation for replacement teeth that look, feel, and function like natural teeth. The person who has lost teeth regains the ability to eat virtually anything and can smile with confidence, knowing that teeth appear natural and that facial contours will be preserved. If you suffer from tooth loss, give us a call and we’d love to walk you through a dental implant consultation!

School’s Out And So Are Wisdom Teeth: A High Schooler’s Survival Guide

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-9-31-03-am‘Tis the season for winter break, hanging out with friends and being homework free! While most high schoolers, or even middle schoolers, look forward to winter break, some students spend their winter break loading up on mashed potatoes and holding ice packs to their faces after getting wisdom teeth removed. Here at Chapin Oral Surgery, we’ve all been through the surgery and are here to offer a little advice for the holidays to make pre and post surgery the best it can be. Don’t worry, you’ll be back at school without those puffy cheeks in no time!


– Rest Up: Get plenty of rest and stay on a strict sleeping schedule so your body isn’t used to staying up late at night. You’ll want to rest as much as possible after surgery.
– No eating or drinking 6 hours beforehand: That’s right, you’ll have to come in before surgery without anything (food or beverages) in your stomach. Make sure mom makes your favorite food the night before!
– Pick your playlist: Some patients can be nervous before surgery, which is understandable. Bring in your headphones and plug up to your favorite playlist to help keep you calm the morning of your surgery!


– Follow directions: We know you’re not in school, but following hygiene and after-surgery care instructions are very important!
– Soft foods only: Nows your time to load up on the mashed potatoes and milkshakes! You’ll want to stay on soft foods for at least a week after surgery to prevent any irritations.
– Ice Ice, Baby: Ice packs will be your friend – even though Snapchat has a chubby cheek filter, you’ll get rid of swelling (if you have any) by keeping the ice packs close!

If you’re dentist has advised you on getting your wisdom teeth out, call our office today to check availability for your winter break wisdom teeth removal surgery!