Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for oral surgery can go a long way towards making the procedure and recovery a more manageable experience.
In most cases, your family dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon that is located nearby and accepts your dental insurance. You should make a preliminary appointment with the oral surgeon to ensure you feel comfortable with him or her. It is also a good idea to check with your insurance so that you can understand what is covered and your portion of the costs. In some cases, however, your family dental practice may have an oral surgeon on site and be able to perform the surgery right in their office.
Why Do I need an Oral Surgeon?
Typically, an oral surgeon is recommended when you require service beyond the scope of your routine dental work, like cleanings and x-rays.
Common procedures that require an oral surgeon are wisdom teeth removal, jaw surgery, dental implants, TMJ, and difficult root canals. Oral surgeons can also treat oral cancers and perform facial cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.
What to Expect
Your dentist may use anesthesia during your procedure. Dental anesthesia is a safe and effective method for pain control during in-office visits. Discuss with your surgeon what your options are for your specific case. They usually include:
- Local anesthesia, which numbs the area near the site. You may experience some pressure, but not pain
- Sedation anesthesia is done through an IV line in your arm. During sedation you will have limited memory of the procedure and feel no pain during the surgery.
- General anesthesia. You may inhale medication through your nose or have an IV line in your arm. You will lose consciousness and have no memory of the procedure and will not experience pain during it.
After-Care for Oral Surgery
Preparing for post-surgery care at home is important. You may spend some time in bed after your surgery, so set up extra pillows in your bed to help you elevate your head and still allow you to recline comfortably. Prepare some things to entertain you like renting that movie you’ve been waiting to watch, a tablet with some games, or magazines you can read while you rest and recover.
Initially you may have swelling around the surgery site. For the first couple of days after your surgery, you should put an ice pack on that area for 15 minutes, remove it for the following 15 minutes, and then repeat. After 24 hours, you should also start rinsing your mouth with salt water a few times a day and after eating. You may be prescribed antibiotics or other medication to help you heal.
Remember to follow your oral surgeon’s after-care instructions (we also wrote this helpful article on after-care for oral surgery) allowing enough time to recover so that you can heal quickly and avoid complications.
Find out about the in-house oral surgeon at the Smile Center.