When teeth cleanings, fillings, and root canals won’t solve the problem, your Richmond TX dentist may recommend oral surgery.
What is oral surgery?
Oral surgery is often used to treat a variety of diseases, injuries and conditions that affect the mouth and jaw. In many cases, it’s a course of last resort when other treatments fail to bring the desired improvement or relief.
Also referred to as maxillofacial surgery in professional circles, treatment may be performed under various levels of anesthesia. The type of anesthesia needed typically depends on the complexity of the procedure, the patient’s anxiety and pain tolerance, the duration of the process, and other factors. Grand Parkway Smiles practitioners may administer local injections, laughing gas, oral sedatives, conscious sedation, or even general anesthesia to keep patients comfortable and free of anxiety.
What are some oral surgery procedures?
The oral surgery procedure most people are familiar with is wisdom tooth extraction. Getting wisdom teeth pulled is one of the most common oral surgeries, and most people face this operation at one time or another in their lives.
Other reasons for tooth extractions include teeth that are beyond repair, only partially erupted, or broken due to trauma; baby teeth that refuse to fall out to make room for adult teeth; and teeth that cause overcrowding or too much pressure on adjacent teeth.
More reasons you may need oral surgery:
- Dental implants
- Bone grafts
- Biopsies to detect or remove oral cancer
- Jaw surgery for malocclusion or traumatic injury
How to prepare for oral surgery?
Here is a step-by-step guide to help make your oral surgery experience as smooth as possible.
- Get informed. Ask questions about your condition and the surgery your dentist will perform. If there is something you don’t understand…ask again.
- Schedule your oral surgery. Choose a date without work and family obligations if at all possible. If needed, arrange for someone to stay with you that day to ensure you get plenty of rest.
- Arrange sedation. Discuss sedation options with your dentist well in advance be sure to get any oral medication prescribed filled ahead of time.
- Arrange transportation. Depending on the type of sedation you’re using, you may need to ask a family member or friend to take you to your surgery appointment, and back home afterward. The staff at the dentist’s office will NOT allow you to drive yourself after anesthesia!
- Go food shopping. Invest in some surgery-friendly food that’s easy to chew.
- Prepare your recovery space. Stock up on movies, magazines and books. Fluff up plenty of pillows or lay claim on a recliner, and keep a nightstand or side table nearby for your post-surgery supplies.
- Tomorrow’s the day. Make sure all your prescribed medications, if any, are picked up from the pharmacy. Double-check on your ride and household helper. Don’t eat, drink, or smoke after midnight. Get a good night’s rest.
- Today’s the day! Wear some comfortable clothes. Take any pre-surgery oral medication as prescribed and take a deep breath…it’ll be ok! Arrive at your appointment with time to spare for last-minute paperwork and a quick chat with the doctor. Sit back. Relax.
What to eat after oral surgery?
While you shouldn’t be experiencing any severe pain after your oral surgery, some mild to moderate soreness at the surgical site is normal. Be sure to take your pain relief medication (and antibiotics, if prescribed) on time, every time. Try not to let your medication schedule lapse.
You probably won’t feel very hungry immediately following your surgery, but by the time dinner rolls around your stomach may be growling. But what to eat? For the first couple of days after oral surgery it’s a good idea to stick to soft foods to avoid irritation of the surgical site and stitches you may have received.
Foods to eat after oral surgery:
- Apple sauce
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
- Mashed avocado or other soft-cooked vegetables
- Soft cheeses
- Refried beans
- Cottage cheese
- Scrambled eggs
- Soft pasta or Ramen
- Sherbets, smoothies & milkshakes
- Creamed spinach
- Chicken broth
And, of course, remember to stay hydrated. Don’t drink from a straw (or smoke!) following a tooth extraction, however, as the suction can lead to a painful condition called “dry socket.”
Dos and donts after oral surgery
Most importantly, keep your post-surgery instruction sheet handy and follow dentist’s orders! If you have any questions, your Grand Parkway Smiles dentist will be happy to speak with you.
- Rest as much as possible for the first and second day after surgery, and take it slow on the third
- Use ice to reduce swelling and soreness
- Consume milk products for the calcium they contain
- Keep gauze in place for at least two hours after surgery, changing pads as needed
- Rinse the mouth gently and keep it clean as instructed
- Report excessive bleeding, pain, or a high fever right away
- Take your medication as instructed
- Use a straw for liquids; drink straight from the cup
- Use tobacco of any kind
- Drink carbonated beverages
- Use mouthwash unless directed to do so by your dentist
- Rinse vigorously
- Strain, bend, or lift heavy objects
- Drive while on prescription pain killers