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A New Method for Oral Surgery

If you need oral surgery and you don’t have the time or aren’t comfortable with the idea of being fully sedated, conscious sedation may be just what you need. Moderate (conscious) Sedation, also known as MCS, falls in between a local anesthetic like Novocaine, and general anesthesia, which puts you to “sleep” for a surgical procedure.

A Time-Saving Procedure

Technically speaking, MCS is a “drug induced depression of consciousness”, which is a fancy way of saying that you’re neither fully awake nor fully asleep. The method uses a combination of medicine to help you relax (a sedative) and a medicine to block pain (an anesthetic). You’ll probably stay awake, but may or may not be able to speak. MCS lets you recover more quickly and be back to your everyday activities sooner after your procedure.

Conscious sedation dentistry also saves time because you can respond to the oral surgeon’s directions during the procedure. It’s great for commuters in Fredericksburg and the DC area who are short on time because you can get more than one procedure done in a session.

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How It’s Administered and How You’ll Feel

Your dentist will usually give you a shot, although the medicine can also be administered through an IV. You’ll begin to feel relaxed and even drowsy in a very short time after receiving the injection. Your breathing will slow down and your blood pressure may go down a little, too. You may fall asleep, but it’s such a light sleep that if someone asks you a question, you’ll “wake up” and respond without difficulty.

After the Oral Surgery

As the sedation wears off, you might feel sleepy, have a headache, or be a little queasy. This should pass quickly. Afterwards, take it easy. Avoid driving and skip the evening cocktail or glass of wine with dinner for that day. By the next day, you should be feeling like yourself again, and be ready for new adventures!


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After-Care Guidelines for Oral Surgery

Just like any other type of surgery, what the patient does in the hours and days following the procedure can make a big difference in their comfort and recovery. That’s why proper after-care for oral surgery is absolutely essential.

Certain symptoms are fairly common after oral surgery and are not necessarily cause for alarm. They include swelling, mild bleeding and mild to moderate pain.

What to Do

  • Bleeding is common following oral surgery. You should reduce your activity level to help keep the bleeding to a minimum. You can also apply pressure to the area for 10 minutes with sterile gauze. If it does not stop on the first try, keep applying pressure for another 10-15 minutes.
  • To reduce swelling and the pain that accompanies it, hold an ice pack on your face for 20 minutes, then remove it for 10 minutes. Repeat this procedure during your waking hours for the first day. Then discontinue icing. If you have had a gingival graft procedure, DO NOT use ice.
  • You can take 600mg of Ibuprofen every 4 hours for the first week after surgery. Make sure to take it with food, which should help avoid indigestion.

Eating and Drinking After Oral Surgery

Eat a soft diet for the first week after surgery, or longer if needed. Avoid crunchy foods, hot or spicy food, and popcorn. DO NOT drink with a straw or smoke during the first 48 hours after surgery.


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What Else Do You Need to Know?

  • Continue to brush your teeth as you normally would, but be extra-careful in the area where you had surgery.
  • Take any pain medication or antibiotics prescribed by your doctor exactly as prescribed.
  • Give your body time to rest. Avoid doing any strenuous activity or exercise.
  • Don’t smoke or use chewing tobacco. Both will delay healing.

You may need a follow-up appointment after your surgery to have stitches or dressings removed and to ensure that your healing process is progressing as it should. Your dentist will let you know if this is necessary.

With a little extra care following your procedure, you can make your recovery a much more comfortable experience.


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I Need Oral Surgery – What Can I Expect?

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.


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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.


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