Sports & Facial Protection: Play it Safe!

ben-hershey-560952-unsplashPlay it safe! April is National Facial Protection Month and the surgeons of Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery urge professional, amateur and recreational athletes to protect their faces and mouths. According to Dr. M. James Clark, a board-certified oral surgeon with Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, “We see about a dozen students each year that experience facial trauma during sports practice and games.” Although not all sports-related injuries can be avoided, there are some steps that players can take to minimize their risks.

“Wear a helmet!” says Dr. Clark. Whether you play football, baseball, or lacrosse, wearing a helmet is the best way to prevent a serious injury. New innovations in helmet technology make them comfortable and effective in protecting the players’ maxillofacial area. In addition to a helmet, Dr. Clark recommends that players wear a mouth guard that will protect players against loss of teeth or injuries to the jaw. New designs of mouth guards are lightweight, easy to wear and provide excellent protection for the teeth, gums and lips.

In the unfortunate event that a player suffers an injury to his/her face or jaw during practice or a game, call 911 if the player is unconscious, disoriented, nauseated, dizzy or incapacitated. If the injuries are not this severe but still require immediate attention, it is advised to take the player to nearest emergency room. While at the hospital, request a consultation with an oral & maxillofacial surgeon, the most qualified specialist to deal with trauma to the face and mouth. The surgeon will be able to diagnose and treat fractures that involve the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones and eye sockets. The oral & maxillofacial surgeon will also examine and treat the player for injuries to facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts. Timely attention to facial injuries will result in the most favorable outcome both aesthetically and functionally.

“Play hard, but be smart,” says Dr. Clark. “Pack your safety gear!  And, on your way to practice, wear your seat belt in the car. You can’t be too safe.”

Dr. M. James Clark is a board-certified oral surgeon at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. For more information about Dr. Clark and his colleagues, please visit Dr. Clark is located at 4185 Technology Forest in The Woodlands and can be reached at 281-367-2001.

David J. Hoffman, DDS, MD: Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

David J. Hoffman, DDS, MD

Diplomate of the American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons

March, 2018 – The partners of Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery are pleased to announce that David J. Hoffman, DDS, MD has successfully completed the requirements for board certification.  Dr. Hoffman has distinguished himself by demonstrating the knowledge and experience required to practice within the specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery.  “Board certification is the pinnacle of achievement and our patients can be assured that they are receiving safe and exceptional care from Dr. Hoffman,” said the doctors of Northwest Oral Surgery.  To maintain board certification, participation in continuous and ongoing professional evaluations is required.

In June 2016, Dr. Hoffman graduated from a six-year residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Kentucky where he also earned his medical degree and completed his general surgical internship.  He joined Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery in July 2016 and has been practicing in the Woodlands and Huntsville office locations.  “Over 11 years of education, training and experience prepared me for the board examinations and it was worth every effort.  I’m proud to be a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and look forward to continuing to deliver top-notch care to my patients at Northwest Oral Surgery,” stated Dr. Hoffman. His specialties include the extraction of wisdom teeth and diseased teeth, the placement of dental implants, oral pathology and corrective jaw surgery.  As a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, he has been trained extensively in the safe administration of IV anesthesia.

For more information about David J. Hoffman, DDS, MD or Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, please visit


Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is a Proud Sponsor of the Dynamo Dash Youth Soccer Club College Center

Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is proud to announce our renewed partnership with Dynamo Dash Youth Soccer Club’s College Center for 2018-2019. We are the club’s longest current partner providing sponsorship support since 2007.

Dr. Brian Unterman stated, “Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery is proud to partner with Dynamo | Dash Youth Soccer Club and its College Center.  We believe in the organization’s mission to provide a pathway for player development and to prepare student athletes to compete at the collegiate level while pursuing higher education.” 

Read full article here.




Do My Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

If you are asking this question, chances are your wisdom teeth are giving you some trouble.  Wisdom teeth are your third molars.  They are the last teeth to come in and are located the farthest back in your mouth.  Occasionally, wisdom teeth will erupt with absolutely no pain, issues or cause for concern. Others will experience unpleasant symptoms and will want or need to have their wisdom teeth extracted.  How do you know?

  • Pain in the jawbone
  • Pain that radiates from ear, jaw and head
  • Tooth pain caused by wisdom teeth growing sideways and putting pressure on adjacent teeth
  • Swelling and inflammation indicating infection
  • Sensitivity in the third molar that might be caused by cavities
  • Bad breath which may indicate infection
  • Bad breath caused by inability to clean and floss properly
  • Sinus pain and pressure caused by third molars pressing up against the sinuses
  • Shifting teeth
  • Formation of cysts around the third molar


If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, we encourage you to consult with your dentist for an exam and x-ray.  If the wisdom teeth appear to be problematic, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon that is uniquely qualified to handle the surgical extraction of wisdom teeth and the administration of IV anesthesia.

For more information about wisdom teeth or the oral surgeons at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, please visit

UPDATED: Dr. Zahid Lalani and the Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Facial Trauma Team


Dr. Zahid Lalani – Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Facial Trauma Team

UPDATE: Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center receives Level II trauma center verification (READ MORE)

Following a tragic event and traumatic injury, the proximity and availability of a trauma center can greatly affect patient outcome. In the greater Houston area, there are currently two level I trauma centers – Memorial Hermann Red Duke Trauma Institute and Ben Taub Hospital. A level I trauma center provides total care for every aspect of the most serious injuries from prevention to rehabilitation. The center is required to have in-house 24-hour trauma surgeons and a staff of specialists and sub specialists on call. Many times critical patients will be transferred to a level I center from a level II, III or IV center or emergency room; thus, increasing the time lapsed before appropriate care is administered.

In response to the growing need for a higher-level trauma care in the communities north of the Texas Medical Center, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital, previously a level III trauma center, has begun providing services to patients as a level II trauma center since summer 2015. As a level II trauma center, Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital will provide 24-hour immediate coverage by general surgeons as well as by specialists in orthopedics, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, radiology and critical care. In addition, there are sub-specialists on-call who are required to respond to an emergency within a stringent time frame. The goal is to provide immediate and comprehensive care to trauma patients and reduce the burden on level I trauma centers.

The American College of Surgeons recommends that an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon be a member of a level I or II trauma team. Dr. Zahid Lalani, a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing with Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, spearheaded the formation of the facial trauma team with Dr. Bryan Correa, a board certified plastic surgeon.  In addition, Dr. Lalani has assumed the responsibility of the on-call Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Hospital providing treatment for all types of traumatic facial injuries.  “I am pleased to be a part of the expanded team of affiliated physicians covering facial trauma call at the hospital. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are one of the most qualified specialists to handle serious and complex trauma to the face and jaw.  Treatment of facial trauma and reconstructing deformities is my passion. It makes a huge difference for patients when you help them get their identity back after an injury.” Dr. Lalani was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Craniomaxillofacial Surgeons, having been nominated by his peers in the country for this honor.

For more information about trauma care at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands, visit  For more information about Zahid Lalani, D.D.S., PhD, M.B.A., please visit

Insurance and Oral Surgery

At Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we participate as “in-network” providers for many of the most popular dental plans*. When you call our office to schedule your consultation with one of our board-certified oral surgeons, please be prepared to let us know about your insurance. We will be able to confirm that we are or are not an in-network provider.

Before your appointment, please complete the registration form online at Provide correct information. In addition, you must bring your insurance card and identification with you to the appointment.

Following your examination, a treatment plan will be established and one of our experienced insurance verifiers will contact your insurance provider. Within 72 hours (2 to 3 business days) of your visit, you can expect a phone call with an estimate of how much your surgical procedure will cost, how much insurance is expected to cover and what portion will be your responsibility. It is important to know that the totals that we communicate to you are our best estimates and are based on the information that the insurance company provides to our verifier during a telephone conversation.

There are several things that will affect what your insurance will pay:

  • Does your insurance plan cover the prescribed treatment? It is not uncommon for some services to be covered while others are not.
  • What is the maximum coverage allowed by your plan and have you exhausted your annual dental coverage? Did you have cavities filled or a root canal performed? These services chip away at your benefits and will reduce the amount left over for oral surgery.
  • Do you have a deductible or a co-pay?

It is our objective at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to help you maximize your dental benefits. We encourage you to become familiar with your insurance benefits and ask questions so that you understand how insurance will play a part in the financial aspect of your oral surgery. For more information please contact one of our six locations today.


*Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery has opted out of Medicare and does not accept any Medicare supplemental plans.

Oral Surgery and the Holidays

For many of our patients, oral surgery during the holidays just makes sense. Whether they are enjoying a school break, taking some time off from work or are simply committed to using all of their dental benefits before the end of the year, scheduling oral surgery now will work in their favor.

Are you considering oral surgery during the holidays but are sad about missing out on the abundance of delicious food that is typically served only once a year?  Will you be relegated to sipping chicken broth and gumming Cream of Wheat while others celebrate with the usual cornucopia of holiday fare?  What will you eat while you are recovering from oral surgery?

While you can still roast chestnuts over an open fire, we definitely do not recommend eating this yuletide tradition.  But, rest assured that there are plenty of holiday dishes that you can enjoy while you are healing!  Some of our favorite suggestions are:

  • Turkey and ham – either ground or served in very small bites
  • Mashed potatoes with delicious savory gravy
  • Sweet potatoes topped with toasted, gooey marshmallows
  • Traditional cornbread dressing
  • Classic holiday casseroles such as Cheesy Broccoli Rice, Southern Squash Casserole or Mac ‘n Cheese
  • Cranberry sauce either homemade or straight from the can
  • Soft breads, muffins and butter
  • Eggnog, Peppermint Milk Shakes and Banana Smoothies. Remember to drink from the glass.  Don’t use a straw.
  • Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Buttermilk Pie, Soufflés and Cake

In most cases, such as wisdom teeth extractions or dental implant placement, oral surgery shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying your holidays.  We urge you to use caution and good judgement when selecting your foods.  Follow your doctor’s post-surgical instructions regarding care and cleaning.  And, we encourage our patients to call their doctor’s office with any questions or concerns.

Contact us today if you are considering oral surgery before the end of 2017.  Visit our website to find a Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery office that is most convenient for you. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dental Implants are the Best Option to Replace Missing Teeth

Are you missing one or more teeth and considering replacing them? Bridges/ dentures and dental implants are both viable replacement options for missing teeth.

Here’s a quick comparison of the two:

Bridges or Dentures

Dental Implants

  • Can be uncomfortable
  • Comfortable
  • Can be ill-fitting
  • Secure
  • Limited diet
  • Allow for a healthy and varied diet
  • Clicking noises when talking or eating
  • Self-confidence when talking and eating
  • Require the use of neighboring teeth as anchors
  • Neighboring teeth are unaffected
  • Loss of bone will occur
  • Bone will be preserved
  • Require replacement every 7 to 15 years
  • Can last a lifetime when cared for properly
  • Less expensive in the short-run
  • Less expensive in the long-run


Talk with your general dentist about what method of tooth replacement is best for you. An OMS (oral and maxillofacial surgeon) is the dental specialist best suited and trained for the surgical placement of dental implants or implant secured dentures.

For more information about dental implants or other oral surgical procedures, call Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today or visit


Use Your 2017 Dental Benefits Before They Expire!

Have you been putting off wisdom teeth surgery for your child or dental implants for yourself? Call us at Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery before your dental insurance benefits expire at the end of the year. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you with one of our eight* board-certified oral surgeons because:

  • You’ve been paying insurance premiums all year long, why waste that money and forfeit any unused benefits? When the year ends, so do 2017 benefits.
  • You’ve met your deductible. Take advantage and schedule treatment before you must meet a new deductible in 2018.
  • Delaying necessary dental treatment and surgeries is never a good idea! Sooner or later you will have to deal with a decaying tooth, painful wisdom teeth or required extractions.

For more information about Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, visit We look forward to seeing you soon.

Dwyer | Clark | Repa | Williams | Unterman | Lalani | Hoffman* | Liska*

*board-certification anticipated in summer 2018