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Posted on: May 2, 2022
When Do You Need an Oral Surgeon?
Oral surgeons are dentists who choose to attend a four or six year residency program after dental school. Technically, they are called oral and maxillofacial surgeons. In their hospital residency, they learn about surgery, anesthesia, anatomy, pathology, and more.
Oral surgeons typically extract impacted wisdom teeth, place implants, perform jaw surgeries, treat trauma victims, perform soft tissue biopsies, and more. While dentists are expertly capable of performing the most common dental procedures, like fillings, root canals, and simple extractions, they refer complex surgical cases to oral surgeons. An oral surgery office has the added advantage of being able to offer general anesthesia, so patients are completely out during the procedure. If your general or family dentist in Dunwoody refers you to us, we would be happy to help.
When Is Oral Surgery the Right Choice?
It can be difficult to determine the type of dental professional you need to see. A good place to start is your family dentist, but you’re welcome to call our office, too. We will do our best to give you the recommendations and resources you need to make the right choice about your dental care.
Typical services we offer are:
- Surgical extractions of teeth that dentists cannot pull as the tooth is below the gumline. This is commonly done to remove wisdom teeth that can’t emerge from the gum.
- Bone grafting for implant placement or gum contouring to correct gummy smiles.
- Gum grafting to correct gum recession from gum disease.
- Sinus augmentation before implants.
- Jaw realignment and treating fractured jaws
- Implant placement, so a dentist can place a crown on the implant.
- Soft tissue biopsies if a person’s dentist suspects oral cancer and tumor removal.
- TMJ disjunction that can’t be corrected with less invasive methods.
- Craniofacial surgery, such as correcting a cleft lip or palate.
What Should I Expect Before and After Oral Surgery?
Except for emergency situations, you can plan for your oral surgery and make your recovery virtually stress-free. Talk to your oral surgeon about your health conditions and prescription medications. You may need to hold off on taking some of them or bring them with you. If you have to take it easy for a few days, find someone who can help you with childcare responsibilities or who will watch your kids for a day or two. Get everything you would like to eat that’s soft and easy to make, like yogurt, and have it in your home, so you won’t have to go out.
Go over the costs of your surgery with your oral surgeon. If you have dental insurance, we’ll verify we accept it and help you estimate your out-of-pocket costs. Our staff can also tell you which payment methods we accept.
Should I Drive Home After Having Oral Surgery?
Unless you’re certain you’ll only need a local anesthetic and nitrous oxide, you will need a ride home. The person should accompany you, and we can give you an estimate of how long your procedure will take, so they can bring something to do or run errands while waiting. If you’ve had general anesthesia, you shouldn’t drive for 24 hours. Make sure the person stays with you, or takes you to get any medications you need before they go home.
What Should I Do Before Oral Surgery?
Follow all the pre-operative instructions your oral surgeon’s office gives you, which typically include:
- Unless you’re only having a local anesthetic, don’t eat or drink anything eight hours before surgery
- Don’t smoke 12 hours before surgery
- Wear something comfortable with short sleeves if you’re having IV sedation or general anesthesia
- Avoid makeup or heavy perfumes
- Wear your glasses instead of contacts
- Take off jewelry
- Double-check your transpiration plans
What Should I Do After Oral Surgery?
Your oral surgeon will give you specific instructions based on your procedure. Following them exactly will help you heal faster. In general, the instructions will include:
- Avoid strenuous activity for 24 to 48 hours. For complex surgeries, you may have to rest for up to five days
- Do not drive for at least 24 hours if you’ve had general anesthesia
- Do not smoke for 24 hours
- Apply ice packs as directed
Use pain medication as directed. You may also have antibiotics to take,
- Drink nothing through a straw for at least 24 hours
- Do not spit for the first 24 hours
- Use salt water rinses as directed
- Don’t eat or drink anything hot for at least 24 hours
- Eat only soft cool foods for one to two days as directed. Yogurt, Jello-O and puddings are good choices. Drink high calorie liquids to keep your strength up
- Eat warm or cool soft foods for as long as your oral surgeon directs
Call your oral surgeon’s office if you’re concerned about the level of pain you are experiencing that isn’t eased with the pain relievers your surgeon recommended. Swelling is normal, but it should subside by the third day if you apply ice packs as directed. You can always use a bag of frozen peas if you don’t have enough ice packs. You may have minor bleeding from the surgical site for a day or two. Use gauze or a wet tea bag to help control the bleeding. If you can’t control the bleeding or you start running a high fever, contact your oral surgeon.
If you need to find an oral surgery office in Dunwoody, please give us a call. You don’t have to have a referral from your family dentist. If you’re not sure you need an oral surgeon and haven’t seen a dentist, we’ll help you decide who you need to see. If you have an emergency situation, such as a broken jaw, please head to the closest emergency room or call 911.