Oral surgery usually refers to any surgical procedure that has to do with the mouth, teeth, gums, or jaw. It’s performed when tooth or jaw corrections are needed that go beyond the expertise of a general dentist. For example, if your wisdom teeth are impacted, you may need to see an oral surgeon.
Additional types of oral surgeries may include:
Having someone operate on your teeth or mouth may be a little intimidating, especially if you already have a fear of dentists or dental procedures. That said, most oral surgeries are relatively quick and nothing to be afraid of.
If you are scheduled to have oral surgery soon, the following tips can help you prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally:
These instructions will let you know what to expect and give you specific tips for your procedure. They will also outline what you can and cannot do (eat, drink, etc.) before your surgery.
Share any conditions you may have or medications you may be taking with your surgical team. In some cases, your surgeon may ask you to stop taking certain medications (e.g. blood thinners) prior to surgery.
Change your bed linens to ones that are comfortable but can be disposed of, as you might stain them after surgery. Get plenty of pillows to prop yourself up with and find activities, like reading or crossword puzzles, that you can do while in bed. Finally, make sure your room, and the rest of your house, is neat and tidy to help reduce stress.
After surgery, you probably won’t want to go anywhere but home. If your surgeon has prescribed pain medications or antibiotics, make sure you pick them up before the big day.
Many oral surgeries require a type of anesthesia that makes it dangerous to drive afterward. Even if yours doesn’t, you will likely be tired and not feel like driving, so you need to make sure you have a friend or family member who can give you a ride to and from your surgery.
After oral surgery, soft foods are best. Head to the store to pick up things like yogurt and fruit to make smoothies with, as well as healthy drinks like water and sugar-free electrolyte beverages. Oh, and grab some ice packs while you’re there!
Many oral surgeries require IV sedation, which means you’ll probably have to fast for a certain amount of time before your surgery. Your pre-surgery instructions will outline when to quit eating, drinking, and smoking to help ensure a successful procedure.
Wear something soft and stretchy to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible during and after your procedure, and avoid wearing jewelry altogether. You should also wear a sleeveless shirt or tank top, as it makes it much easier for nurses to administer IVs, take vital signs, and monitor your blood pressure.
This will give you a chance to fill out any last-minute paperwork or ask any questions you have. Plus, the earlier you arrive, the more time you have to calm your nerves before the surgery.
Remember, if you have questions about the procure or find yourself feeling nervous, don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist. They will be more than happy to talk you through the process or answer any questions that may help you feel better.