Responsible for allowing food and air to enter your body, the mouth is a very complex oral cavity that is made up of teeth, salivary glands and the tongue. As an essential role in breaking down food and articulating speech, your mouth plays a huge role in everyday functions and is important to administer the proper care. For many reasons, problems with your teeth and gums may require assistance from a dentist or oral surgeon to ensure that your oral health is in good condition. Many patients undergo oral surgery and may experience a variety of different, or reoccurring, surgeries throughout their lifetime. To help you better understand the range of dental procedures, here are a few tips you need to know before oral surgery.
Common Types of Oral Surgery
Endodontic oral surgery pertains specifically to the root or pulp of your teeth. Dental specialists are called endodontists and specialize in issues relating to dental pulp. These professionals have a deep understanding of the pathology, morphology, and physiology that make up this particularly sensitive area. Common endodontic surgery includes root canals, pulpotomy (opening the pulp chamber to drain an infection), pulpectomy (the removal of pulp for temporary pain relief) and apicoectomy (removal of the “apex” or end of the tooth).
Also referred to as dental prosthetics, prosthodontic dentistry focuses on dental prostheses. Prosthodontic surgery uses artificial material to cover or replace problematic teeth while saving as many healthy ones as possible. Common solutions for issues regarding prostheses include materials such as crowns, veneers, bridges, implants and dentures. Patients suffering from disorders such as sleep apnea or issues with their temporomandibular joint (TMJ) may be referred to a prosthodontist for special care.
One of the more well known sects of dental specialists is the orthodontic branch of oral health. This dental specialist deals with individuals who suffer from irregularities of the mouth and focus on the prevention, development, and correction of these problems by addressing the teeth, jaws, and a person’s bite. One of the most common dental surgeries performed by orthodontists is straightening a person’s bite through the use of braces.
Periodontists specialize in the structures that support teeth such as the periodontium (tissues that surround teeth) as well as the maxillary and mandibular bones (jaw bone). Periodontists also treat diseases and conditions relating to gingiva (gums) and the attaching ligaments.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a specialized surgeon that treats the entire craniomaxillofacial complex. This is the anatomical area of the mouth, jaw, face, and skull. The field requires extensive training and expertise that is necessary to take on tasks such as removing teeth, craniomaxillofacial trauma, head and neck cancer, and cosmetic facial surgery. Common surgical procedures performed include dentoalveolar surgery (surgery to remove impacted teeth), bone grafting, and orthognathic surgery (corrective jaw surgery).
Dental Surgery Tips
1. Understand The Operation
When scheduling your surgery, talk with your doctor about the intended procedure. Asking questions prior to the scheduled date will allow you a better understanding of the risks and benefits of what you are having done. Some procedures require more recovery time than others which can result in time off of work or possible assistance from a loved one or friend. Be sure to ask about the days leading up to the surgery and prepare yourself appropriately. Fasting is required for procedures that require sedation so planning meals ahead of time may be necessary.
2. Plan Accordingly
If you are getting sedated, there are a few things to consider prior to the big day. Surgeries that require sedation (even nitrous oxide) prohibit you from eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before. This reduces your risk of pulmonary aspiration. Additionally, anesthesia can impair your judgment which makes it unsafe to operate a vehicle. Some practitioners require someone else to drive you home post-op to ensure safety. Asking a friend or family to chauffer you there and back is a great solution to this. Depending on what type of procedure you undergo, a stop at the pharmacy on your way home can help ensure a stress-free day of recovery.
3. Dress for the Occasion
Often overlooked by patients undergoing surgery is their choice of clothing that day. While it is in everyone’s interest to wear something comfortable, choosing a top that allows access to your arms may allow a nurse easier access to check your vitals or insert your IV. Avoiding light colors can also come in handy as removing gauze can sometimes get messy.
Oral Surgeons in PA
For more information about oral surgery preparation and the services we provide at St. Luke’s OMS, contact us at the location closest to you. Our Board certified oral surgeons will determine a personalized plan and walk you through the ins and outs of your treatment. Schedule your appointment today to learn more, we look forward to hearing from you!