You probably don’t think about oral surgery until you need it. Let’s face it: Most of us aren’t thrilled about going to the dentist, much less an oral surgeon. We immediately think of pain and a stream of appointments during which we’ll spend a good deal of our time with our mouths opened wide.

What you may not know is that things have changed— exponentially—in oral surgery. The medical team at Charleston Oral and Facial Surgery (COAFS) offers patients tomorrow’s oral healthcare today.

Drs. Oliphant, Strauss and Sarathy, a trio of oral and maxillofacial surgeons at COAFS, with offices in Charleston, North Charleston and Summerville, help create spectacular smiles and provide patients with progressive choices within a relaxing, high-tech environment.

“We are the foundation people,” Oliphant says. “If you think about how to best construct a home, you build a strong, sturdy foundation. Working with top-notch dental partners in the community, we ensure that the finishing touches they put on our foundation stay strong, beautiful and pleasing to the eye; and most importantly, the patient feels that way.”

That foundation is indeed sturdy, with the doctors combining decades of experience, years of advanced training in various specialties of dental, oral, maxillofacial and cosmetic surgeries, and unmatched technological modalities.

Premier Oral Surgery

“Our philosophy is simple,” Oliphant says. “One, make the entire experience as uncomplicated and pleasant as possible. Two, give the patient all the tools and information there is available to allay their fear or anxieties. Three, provide them with the best technology to meet their needs and deliver the absolute best outcome.”

COAFS provides patients with telemedicine, a means of communication via electronic devices or computers. Some patients travel long distances and the doctors are able to speak with them and their dental providers regarding their care before they ever arrive. Think of it as oral/dental Skyping with the best encryption/privacy known to modern medicine.

Their state-of-the-art website ( is designed to provide patients with the most up-to-date information available and is a large part of what makes procedures and surgeries less intimidating. With the click of a button, patients can view instructional videos from the doctors and medical staff regarding what to expect before, during and after a surgery or procedure. Designed specifically to reassure and inform, they take the clinical out and put the compassionate caring in.

As Oliphant explains: “Some patients like to read, get their information that way, others are visually oriented. However they want to learn about what they’re about to experience, we have a resource for that.”


Resources are abundant at COAFS. The practice is among a handful of oral surgeons in the nation that uses a Trios scanner, the only machine on the market with 3-D color capability. Similar to CEREC machines that are in dental practices, the Trios scanner images are so precise that a lab can match the shade of a patient’s tooth even more closely than a dentist who uses traditional methods.

“A dentist can attempt a color match, which is usually very close,” Oliphant says, “but the scanner makes it even closer.”

Precise color matching is only a fraction of what this scanner does for both dentists and patients. Traditionally, a patient would receive an implant, a substitute for a natural tooth, then visit their dentist two to three months later to make an impression for the final crown or denture.

“After the impression is made—which requires putting a goopy substance in the mouth—they wait about three weeks, then visit the dentist again to have their crown put in,” Oliphant explains. “With the scanner, those two appointments are obsolete.”

The patient can have a 3-D scan at COAFS, send the scan to the lab and the lab sends the images for the crown to the dentist. The patient has a one-time visit with their dentist to complete what once was a process that could take as long as nine to 12 months.

“Most patients can have an implant procedure, then a crown within a one to two month period, though some have had it done in one visit. This scanner has revolutionized our surgeries for our patients and their dentists, making the whole process quicker and as stress free as possible,” Oliphant says.

A Myriad of Choices

COAFS doctors specialize in surgeries— implants, orthognathic surgery, extractions, cosmetic and others—that are life-changing.

“Many of our patients come to us in pain or due to emergent circumstances and nearly all of them have a huge fear about these types of procedures and surgeries. When they tell us afterward that their anticipation was far worse than the actual procedure, and they thank us and tell their friends and family about how they were treated, we know we’ve done our jobs,” Oliphant says.

Providing patient-centric care with the best technology available. Now, that’s the best medicine there is.

Brigitte Surette is a full-time freelance writer living in Mount Pleasant. Find out more at