Here at Wimmer Dental in Centennial, we want you to know more about oral surgery and what to expect, especially if you require this type of care in the future. Oral surgery is usually done as an outpatient procedure, using either a local or general anesthetic. Since it is an outpatient procedure, you will be able to go home shortly after the procedure is completed, as long as your doctor approves.
A Little History
Oral surgeries first occurred in the U.S. during the Civil War. Both Union and Confederate dentists attempted facial reconstruction on injured soldiers. These were some of the first successful oral surgeries. In the 19th century, horses were the first veterinary oral surgeries and in the 20th century, veterinary oral surgeries expanded to other animals. Today’s oral surgeries can address a wide range of issues from facial reconstruction to tumors to wisdom tooth extractions.
When is Oral Surgery Used?
Oral surgeries are often used for root canals and tooth removals, but they can also be used for cleft palates and benign tumor removal. Oral surgeries are often used as a part of facial reconstructions and other cosmetic surgeries. Some of the more complicated surgeries can be quite costly, so it is good to know that such costs can be covered by a combination of dental and health insurance, depending on your coverage and your situation.
Oral surgery is also used to correct severe overbites and TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) relief. It can also be used for bridges, jaw reconstruction, and dental implants. Talk to a dentist, such as one of our dentists at Matthew Wimmer Dental in Centennial to figure out whether oral surgery would be the best option for you.
As with any procedure, you should have a few preliminary appointments. This is the best time to be sure that any questions or concerns you have are addressed. If you have more than a couple questions, it may be a good idea to make a list to be sure that you don’t forget any issues and to ensure all your concerns are addressed.
Preparing Your Home
When it comes to oral surgery and what to expect, downtime is inevitable. Since you will spend your recovery at home, it will be important to make your recovery time easy. You may need to spend a great deal of your time in bed and so extra pillows and entertainment options may be in order. You may want to gather some magazines, books, or other entertainment to keep you from being bored when you are not sleeping. You may spend a great deal of time sleeping though, so don’t plan to get anything done. Your body needs to sleep when it is recovering.
Before Your Surgery
Be sure you have arranged transportation to and from your oral surgery appointment. You should not attempt to drive following your oral surgery because anesthesia can impair your driving abilities. You will be required to fast prior to your surgery, the number of hours may vary depending on your procedure. You should follow your surgeon’s directions. If you are diabetic or on any medication, be sure to address what you should do with your surgeon.
Stick to Soft Foods
Following oral surgery, you will need to eat soft food to avoid problems with your surgical site. Soups and yogurt are great options because they can be rich sources of vitamins and are soft. Immediately after surgery, you should make sure your food and drinks are not hot. The anesthetic can mask pain for a while after, so you may not be able to tell if you are burning your mouth.
Alcohol and drinking with a straw should be avoided for at least 24 hours, depending on your surgery. Crunchy and hard foods, like pretzels and popcorn, may also need to be avoided for 6 to 8 weeks, depending on the kind of oral surgery you had. No smoking while you are recovering because the suction of inhaling can cause damage and bleeding. It will be important to follow the recovery instructions provided by your oral surgeon, to ensure the best recovery possible.
Following oral surgery, you may experience swelling. Using an ice pack for up to 15 minutes, followed by at least 15 minutes of rest can help minimize and reduce such swelling. Some ice packs should not be used directly on your skin, so be sure to avoid direct contact if needed. Rinsing with salt water can help speed your recovery, depending on the type of oral surgery. You may be directed to rinse your mouth with salt water 3 or more times a day and following meals to help your healing. Again, be sure to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your oral surgeon.
Swelling and discomfort are generally greatly reduced after the first 48 hours. This will be the time you should spend mostly in bed. Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided. After the initial 48 hours, the longer portion of your healing will differ depending on the type of oral surgery.
For oral surgery and what to expect, common procedures such as wisdom tooth extractions are generally healed in one or two weeks. On the other hand, some jaw surgeries may heal in a month or more. The healing is dependent on the kind of surgery involved. The more invasive the surgery, the longer the healing time will be. Your oral surgeon is best able to determine the correct healing schedule to expect.
Speed Your Recovery
The best way to recover quickly is to follow the care instructions from your doctor as closely as possible. The better you are with following the instructions, the quicker your healing will be complete. Keep in mind, that as with any procedure, individuals may experience differing speeds of recovery depending on their individual circumstances, but generally, you can expect faster healing if you take good care of yourself and your surgical site.
Now that you know more about oral surgery and what to expect, you have a basic understanding of the process. If you think you may need oral surgery or are in need of a consultation, contact us here at Matthew Wimmer Dental in Centennial.