A Beautiful Life
Dr. James Robbins of James L. Robbins, D.M.D., Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery LLC adds form and function to patients’ smiles
by Phil Gianficaro and Bill Donahue

One might equate James L. Robbins, D.M.D., to a miracle worker of a specialized sort.

For decades he has excelled in all areas of oral and maxillofacial surgery, from dental implants, chin augmentation surgery, obstructive sleep apnea to orthognathic surgery and other orthodontic problems that cannot be treated with braces. Today, as founder of Media-based James L. Robbins, D.M.D., Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery LLC, Dr. Robbins continues to improve the form and function—not to mention the quality of life—of patients who often see themselves as “dental cripples.”

“For most of the people I work with, it’s an aesthetic issue and a functional issue,” he says. “We can offer people alternatives to help them live a better life.”

For example, many of his patients are among the millions of Americans who have dentures who are seeking an alternative to conventional dentures. Instead of partial dentures which can loosen surrounding teeth and cause bone loss of the jaw, Dr Robbins can provide long-lasting, titanium dental implants that effectively replace the removable teeth they once had.  Dr. Robbins has placing implants since the 1980s.

“Imagine biting into an apple and having your teeth come out, or getting seeds or food particles trapped under your full or partial denture; it can be painful or embarrassing,” he says. “That’s an example of what happens to a lot of Americans. … Now, through minimally invasive implant surgery, we can give people who have a removable denture or partials a prosthesis that alleviates those problems.

Dr. Robbins utilizes the latest, most efficient and diagnostic tools in the industry. Two of these are Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT) and Dental Digital Scanning. CBCT is a dental-imaging technique of digitally processed X-rays. The CBCT scanner rotates around a patient’s head, obtaining hundreds of images and capturing three-dimensional renderings to be used in treatment planning for the placement of dental implants, evaluation of impacted teeth, chin repositioning procedures and pathologic areas in the bone.

“Before this technology, the alternative was having the patient take a medical-grade CT scan, which was more expensive and exposed the patient to 10 times the degree of radiation,” he says. “It allows us to evaluate the area in much greater detail, and by using different software it’s also a wonderful teaching tool for explaining surgery to the patient.”

The second diagnostic tool Dr. Robbins utilizes is a dental digital scanning apparatus that replaces the goopy, gag-causing traditional impressions. The handheld device is placed into the mouth and scans with 100,000 points of reference to ensure accuracy. The images are then sent to a dental laboratory, where a computer-generated epoxy model of the upper and lower teeth is made.

“The impression is exact,” Dr. Robbins says. “This is brand new technology, and to my knowledge I’m the only oral surgeon in Delaware County who has it. I had a patient who was ‘a severe gagger, especially with impression,’ to quote him. When he learned about the scanner, he said, ‘I want it.’”

Dr. Robbins also offers general anesthesia and moderate sedation in the office for certain procedures that require more than local anesthesia (the numbing injection), such as dental implants, grafting procedures to recreate bone in a patient’s mouth, impacted wisdom teeth and chin augmentations that adjust the contour for aesthetic and/or functional reasons. This touches on yet another area of specialty, which is working with patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or the suspension of breathing caused by an obstructed upper airway.

Surgery to reposition the jaw and/or chin can help alleviate issues that cause sleep apnea, which has proven to be one of the major causes of hypertension and other life-threatening conditions. Dr. Robbins can also prescribe a fully adjustable dental device called a Klearway appliance. This appliance can act as a nonsurgical alternative to the nighttime CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) apparatus, which many apnea sufferers experience great difficulty wearing.

Unrivaled Expertise
Dr. Robbins’ credentials speak volumes. Certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Board of Dental Anesthesiology, he received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in teaching from Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston.

After completing his residency training following his appointment to chief resident in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Brooklyn-Cumberland Medical Center in New York in June 1981, he returned to St. Louis to complete a one-year fellowship in orthognathic (or jaw repositioning) surgery and bone grafting to the upper and lower jaws at St. Mary’s Health Center.

In addition to running his thriving practice, Dr. Robbins is on staff at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media; Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where he teaches the residents in oral and maxillofacial surgery; and Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland.

He has also held key leadership and executive board positions with organizations such as the Delaware Valley Academy of Osseointegration, the Delaware Valley Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the Dental Society of Chester County and Delaware County, and the Pennsylvania Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Beyond that, he is also affiliated with many other national and local societies and associations, including the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the Pennsylvania Dental Association and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.

Dr. Robbins’ expertise has improved his patients’ lives in dramatic fashion. For one, a 17-year-old from West Chester named “Grace,” Dr. Robbins helped put an end to the hurtful snickering and derisive name-calling that she had been enduring since elementary school because of her severe malocclusion, or underbite. During a seven-hour surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Robbins moved Grace’s upper jaw forward and bottom jaw backward.

“I cannot tell you enough what Dr. Robbins has done for me by correcting my underbite,” says Grace, who has been a patient of Dr. Robbins since 2006. “I feel great and look great. … Dr. Robbins made me look and feel the way I always wanted to. I don’t look away from people anymore, and I’m not self conscious anymore. I can’t thank him enough.”

She is among the countless patients who have been helped by Dr. Robbins, who this year is marking his 30th in private practice.

“To be able to help patients this way, I can’t describe the feeling of satisfaction I get,” Dr. Robbins says. “I did a jaw repositioning surgery on another young woman a few years ago. This was a 16-year-old girl who was severely introverted due to her appearance.

“When she came to me for her nine-month, post-operative jaw repositioning visit, I asked how she was doing. She broke into the biggest smile and said, ‘I’m doing great; I just broke up with my third boyfriend, and I did the breaking up.’ That’s what I mean when I talk about the satisfaction of being able to help my patients and sometimes change their lives. It’s the best feeling in the world.”

Displayed throughout Dr. Robbins’ reception room are photographs of the Media Little League teams that he coached over 10 years. Displayed throughout the entire office are underwater photographs he took while enjoying another of his passions, scuba diving. The calm and beautiful images help put patients at ease as they are displayed even in the surgical operatories.

“Everything we do is designed to make the patient comfortable and satisfied,” Dr. Robbins says. For that, his patients can’t thank him enough.

James L. Robbins, D.M.D.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, LLC
200 E. State Street, Suite 103
Media, PA 19063
Office: 610-565-7200
Website:  www.mediaoralsurgery.com