To many people, the very term “oral surgery” can suggest a nightmare waiting to happen. Not only do the mouth and face comprise sensitive part of our bodies, but they also form a huge part of our identifying features. However, modern advances have made most oral maxillofacial procedures much easier to manage — most are performed on an outpatient basis — and under the hand of the right oral surgeon, you can come through with highly satisfactory results. With the following patient’s guide to getting oral surgery, we discuss the basics of different types of procedures, conditions that may be treated and other things you need to know.
What Does Oral Surgery Treat?
There are a wide range of oral surgical procedures ranging from minor to major, and treating many different types of issues in the mouth and jaw. Procedures may include:
- Gingival surgery to repair and restore the gum line;
- Preprosthetic surgery to prepare for dentures;
- Reconstructive jaw surgery to restore bone structure or correct an overbite;
- Surgery to treat and correct sleep apnea;
- Full arch restoration therapy to replace an entire upper or lower row of teeth; and
- A variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures designed to improve the smile.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by heavy snoring and temporary stops and starts in breathing as you sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause you to waken suddenly at night gasping for air, causing sleep deprivation and even cardiovascular disease. An oral surgeon can help correct sleep apnea by recommending a number of different corrective procedures. Talk to your oral surgeon if you are experiencing symptoms of this potentially serious disorder.
Bone grafting is a common process used in many reconstructive oral surgeries, particularly for the purpose of restoring bone loss and reinforcing the jaw. A dental bone graft involves extracting a piece of bone from another part of the body and affixing it to the jaw, allowing it to fuse with the jaw bone and reinforce it. Bone grafting may be used to treat a number of conditions, including repairing jaw fractures and preparing the jaw for tooth implants. Your oral surgeon will inform you if bone grafting will be part of your procedure.
Preparing for Oral Surgery
Preparing for oral surgery follows a similar pattern to other outpatient procedures. Your surgeon will advise you to arrange transportation home; he may also help you arrange in advance for any prescription medications you might need after the surgery. You’ll be advised to avoid smoking before and after the procedure to encourage quick recovery. You’ll also need to fast the night before the procedure, especially if you’ll be going under general anesthesia.
What to Expect After Oral Surgery
You can expect a bit of pain and discomfort following your procedure, and your doctor will recommend taking at least the first day off of work after oral surgery. Besides taking a little time to rest, you’ll probably need to stick to liquids or soft foods for a brief period of time, and you may need to avoid heavy lifting to prevent aggravating your incision. Read more about the do’s and don’ts after oral surgery here.
Riverside Oral Facial Surgery is home to some of the top oral surgeons in north Georgia, and our compassionate team can help you determine whether oral surgery is right for your needs. To make an appointment, call us at (706) 235-5570.