Preparation is key to a smooth oral surgery.
Feeling anxious about oral surgery is normal. Many patients already feel nervous about visiting a dentist or an oral surgeon; the thought of having to undergo surgery only worsens those feelings.
Oral surgery is any surgical procedure performed by a licensed dentist on your mouth or jaw. Knowing what to expect before the procedure will help you feel more comfortable.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: What Is It?
Maxillofacial and oral surgery is a surgical procedure that addresses conditions, injuries, and aesthetic aspects related to the teeth, jaws, mouth, and face.
It is a standard outpatient procedure that involves general or local pain anesthesia. Associates in oral surgery who have completed a four-year surgical residency training at a hospital on top of a degree in dentistry perform this procedure.
You must approach oral surgeries as you would any other surgery.
Reasons for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
The following are some of the most common reasons oral and maxillofacial surgeries are performed:
- Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Third molars are also known as wisdom teeth, the last set of teeth to develop. In most
cases, they fail to emerge above the gum line, get trapped between the gum tissue or the jawbone, and lead to swelling, pain, and infection.
Additionally, wisdom teeth can damage nearby gums, bones, and teeth, forming cysts or tumors that will destroy sections of the jaw without surgical intervention. The same problems can happen on bicuspids and cuspids; these may also require surgery.
- Dental Implants
Dental implants are an alternative to bridges and dentures. These are surgically fixed into the jawbone and act as stabilizers for artificial teeth.
Healthy bone density is necessary to be a good candidate for dental implants. There is a high chance of infection; good oral hygiene is crucial.
- Jaw-Related Problems
A common cause of facial pain and headaches is dysfunction in the small joint connecting your lower jaw and skull. Most patients respond well to oral medications, physical therapy, or dental splints. However, some cases require surgery.
Oral surgery can correct any jaw issues before you get dentures. The procedure will ensure that the dentures fit perfectly. People who have been wearing dentures for a long time can benefit from surgery.
Unequal Jaw Growth
Over time, supporting bones can deteriorate, making dentures prone to falling out. If there is not enough bone, an oral surgeon may perform a bone graft.
- Other Medical Conditions
Cleft Palate or Cleft Lip Repair
The surgery corrects the jaw and facial structure to restore normal appearance and function.
Maxillofacial and oral surgeons can treat and repair facial injuries and trauma, like jaw fractures, using their vast knowledge of the anatomy and function of the jaw.
5 Tips to Prepare for Your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Here are some preparation tips to help you feel at ease:
- Make sure you have all the information you need.
Make an appointment with your surgeon to make sure you fully understand your procedure. Ask about the potential risks and benefits as well.
- Don’t eat before your procedure.
Fasting is required if you’re going to be sedated during the procedure. Don’t eat before your surgery to prevent aspiration, a severe but rare side effect of anesthesia where the stomach contents enter the lungs. You can take a little sip of water if you have to take medication while on fast.
- Make sure you have someone to drive you home.
Sedation impairs your judgment and makes it difficult and dangerous to drive a vehicle. Ask a family member, friend, or neighbor to transport you home. If nobody is available, take a cab. Some clinics allow their patients to stay for a while until the sedative wears off.
- Wear something comfortable.
Keep your arms accessible by wearing short sleeves to make it easier for your dentist to administer sedatives and monitor your vital signs throughout the procedure.
- Arrive early.
Be there at least 20 minutes early to give you time to finish any last-minute paperwork and allow you to relax. This is also the time to ask any questions you may still have.
The Bottom Line
Oral surgeries are essential in keeping your mouth healthy. Wisdom tooth extraction, dental implants, and jaw-related problems are the most common reasons oral surgeries are performed.
Preparing for oral surgery is crucial. Make sure you have all the information you need and don’t eat before the surgery. Have someone take you home, and wear something comfortable. Lastly, arrive early to help you relax and iron out some paperwork if necessary.
Do not let anxiety about surgery stop you from getting the maxillofacial or oral treatment you need. Instead, make an appointment with a friendly, caring Pagosa Springs dentist who will help you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
Follow these tips and follow your oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions to improve your chances for a full and speedy recovery.