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Oral Surgery – Before and After

Patients who have a painful or broken tooth, an unusual growth or sore in their mouth, or gum disease may be expecting to have oral surgery. Dental implants have become common. Even simple surgical procedures can be taxing for some patients. Expect dentists to spend time with their patient before and after the surgical procedure to ensure success than during the procedure.


All dental treatment begins with the dentist reviewing a thorough health history. Please do not hold anything back. It is important for the dentist to know about any medical condition, medication or allergy. It is always advisable to know a patient’s heart rate and blood pressure. Questions will include dental information and the chief complaint – medical lingo for the reason the patient is there. Expect the dentist to ask questions and chat a bit to become familiar with the patient.

The examination will include the area of the chief complain – the tooth, the sore, whatever the issue. Just as important, the dentist will examine the rest of the mouth, head and neck. For example, the patient may believe that very uncomfortable pain is due to a broken or decaying tooth. The dentist may find that the patient’s pain is due to a sinus infection, a sore facial muscle, a dislocation of the jaw joint, or even the inflammation of a nerve. A thorough exam can prevent unnecessary surgery.

Do not wonder when a specialist conducts another thorough examination. Sometimes, the second dentist will discover a problem that the first dentist might overlook. This is an important advantage of going to a specialist when the general dentist suggests. Conversely, the problem may subside in the time it takes to see the specialist. Serious operations like oral surgery is not like teeth whitening modesto, more than just the cosmetic side, it focuses more on the overall health of  your teeth. Hence, it is really advisable to always choose the best dentist so you can assure that the service is quality as well.

Once the dentist and the patient agree on the treatment, the dentist will give the patient pre-op instructions. It is common for oral surgeons to tell their patients not to eat for six to eight hours before surgery. Often, oral surgeons’ treatment includes general anesthesia, medication that makes the patient unconscious during surgery. This medication may cause the patient to regurgitate. If the unconscious patient inhales stomach contents, acid burns the lungs creating a life threatening situation. Some patients may need to take antibiotics prior to oral surgery. Diabetics should check their blood sugar prior to treatment. Some patients will have to taper off or stop taking medication before treatment.

Ask for written instructions to prevent misunderstanding or forgetting any instructions.After

After a minor surgical procedure, such as a tooth extraction or periodontal (gum) surgery, most patients will be able to stand right up and walk out of the office. More extensive surgery and general anesthesia will take more out of a person. Dentists may ask such patients to stay in the office a little while to get their bearings before leaving. Dentists always instruct patients who undergo treatment with general anesthesia to arrive with a responsible adult who will take them home after the procedure.

Expect the dentist or a knowledgeable staff member to give thorough written and verbal post operative instructions.

Avoid smoking for 24 hours. This applies to any kind of smoking – cigarettes, home made cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and hookahs. This is quite important. Any smoking delays healing. Smoking soon after a tooth extraction is likely to cause an uncomfortable condition called dry socket. Normally, when a tooth comes out, the socket in the bone fills with a blood clot. The clot acts as a bandage and protects the bone. Smoking, heat, suction (as in a drinking straw), and vigorous rinsing will damage the blood clot, expose the bone and cause a great deal of pain.

Expect swelling, pain and bruising for one or two weeks after the procedure. Use cold compresses (ice in a face cloth) to reduce swelling. Apply the compress to the affected area for twenty minutes on and twenty minutes off for two to three hours after the procedure. The next day, applications warmth will reap some benefit.

Some antibiotics and pain medications may be hard on the stomach. Take them with a full glass of water. It is a good idea to lay down for about 20 minutes after taking some pain medications to prevent nausea.

Antibiotics can interfere with the protection of birth control pills. Always use an alternate method of birth control when taking antibiotics. When your dentist prescribes antibiotics, take the full amount as prescribed.

Many pain medications and anesthesia cause lightheadedness, dizziness and drowsiness. Do not take this kind of medication and plan to work at peak efficiency. Never drive while taking prescription pain medication or for 24 hours after general anesthesia. Do not make any important decisions while under the influence of strong medication.

Relax for a day or two after surgery. Strenuous activity soon after surgery may cause bleeding or even sutures to open.

Numbness is an unusual side effect of infections, surgical procedures (most commonly extraction of third molars) and disease. Always contact the dentist immediately when oral or facial numbness seems to result from any of these sources. Usually the dentist will want to examine their patient as soon as possible to determine the extent of the symptom.

Prepare for oral surgical procedures by speaking with the dentist. Ask what to expect. Ask for special instructions. After the procedure, if anything does not seem right, call the dentist to ask for advice.

Jaime London is a writer, contributor, editor and a photographer. He started his career as an editorial assistant in a publishing company in Chicago in 2009.