Whether it’s due to abnormalities in the bone structure or injuries to the face and mouth, you or someone you know may find themselves needing to consult an oral surgeon. This is an understandably scary proposition — and it’s not just about your smile. But it’s important to note that in spite of how uncomfortable the idea is, if you’re even considering these kinds of procedures, you’re almost certainly going to save yourself some pain and discomfort by having it done sooner than later. Below, we’ll discuss a few of the things you’ll want to keep in mind.
Before the Surgery
You will, of course, need to start with your trusted dentist. If the recommendation of surgery scares you, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion before you take a referral for a surgical consult. In many cases, you may need to wear braces and follow specific care and hygiene steps in order to prepare. It’s critical during this time that you work closely with your dentist and follow their instructions, even if (or rather, especially if) your situation requires months or more than a year of preparation before your operation.
The night before, as with many other procedures, you will need to go without food for somewhere around twelve hours and arrange for your transportation, as even in the case of outpatient services, there may be heavy anesthetics involved.
Evolution in Processes
As unpleasant as it sounds, the processes of oral surgery have improved. Pain is certainly a side-effect of any procedure of this nature, but many describe the pain as being less of an issue than they expected going into it. Scars are not likely to be a concern as the overwhelming majority of procedures can be performed entirely inside-the-mouth. New techniques and equipment allow for surgeons to accomplish their tasks with a minimum amount of impact, the screws and plates they use today being smaller and stronger than the tools of the past. In many cases, bone matter from your own body may be used as an alternative to metals. Stability and comfort have been improved by new cutting and drilling methods that ease the pressures in the mouth, but during the procedure and afterwards.
The recovery process will take some time — weeks or months depending on the nature of your procedure. You will likely be on leave or reduced duty for some period, and what’s worse is that you may find it difficult for some time to enjoy your favorite foods. Once again, it is critical to follow the recommendations of your dentist to keep the recovery period as brief as you can, and as comfortable as you can. Research foods that are easy to swallow and don’t require much chewing. Keep an eye out for any deviation from the expectations laid out by your doctors. If there is bleeding, for example, for a longer period than expected, or any fever or sensations of numbness or tingling, consult your doctor immediately. Oral surgery does carry the same aftercare risks as any other surgery, and even with advances in the medical field you need to work closely with quality dental professionals like the folks at Premier Smile Center to give yourself the best care, before and after surgery.
Evan Maukonen is a freelance writer and professional student who contributes articles and advice on a variety of subjects affecting everyday life.