People undergo oral surgical procedures when other treatment modalities do not treat dental problems. Oral surgery can be scary to a man because of the word surgery involved. If you are someone looking for an oral surgical procedure, do not worry. We have covered a brief overview of the subject in the information provided below.
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What is oral surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery involves procedures used to treat the problems associated with the teeth, face, and jawbones. Many techniques aim to treat dental issues like tooth extraction, and a few selected methods aim at facial reconstruction and dealing with trauma cases involving the maxillofacial region.
Maxillofacial surgeons are specialists trained in oral and maxillofacial surgery who can do complex surgeries. Any dentist can efficiently perform basic procedures, on the other hand.
Depending on the condition of the dental problem at hand, the surgical procedures may be classified into four broad categories-
- Elective procedures
- Emergency procedures
Contraindications of oral surgery
There are a few relative and some absolute contraindications to oral surgical procedures. Some of the conditions of primary concern for any oral surgical procedures are:
- Active infection cases where the efficacy of the anesthesia is doubtful
- Hypertension, where systolic bp is more than 160mmHg, and diastolic bp is more than 100mm Hg.
- A surgical site close to the area of cancer can lead to metastasis if the procedure is done.
Why oral surgery?
Oral and maxillofacial surgery is performed to treat various teeth, jaw, and facial skeleton concerns. The primary purpose of any oral surgical procedure is broadly classified into four major categories:
Diagnostic/ therapeutic purpose
- TMJ surgery- Used to treat temporomandibular joint disorders. Mainly treats the pain in the TMJ while chewing.
- Osteotomy of jawbones- done to reposition the jaw surgically bones to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- Tumor removal- surgical excision of abnormal overgrowth, including malignant and benign masses.
- Tooth extraction- This is always the last resort when all other dental treatments have failed to save the tooth.
- Wisdom tooth extraction- when the pain due to an erupting third molar becomes recurrent and is not controlled by any measures.
- Dental implants placement- placement of titanium post in the jawbones that exactly mimics the natural tooth and helps restore standard form and function.
- Orthognathic surgeries are indicated when the bite correction is impossible due to the movement of teeth alone as the skeletal discrepancy persists.
- Cheek augmentation procedures
- Facelift surgeries
- Skin grafting
- Flap surgeries
- Lip reconstruction procedures
- Surgeries to reconstruct the damage due to le fort fractures
How to prepare for the surgery?
To prepare well for the surgery, you will meet your surgeon well before the day of the surgery, and he will guide you step by step through how to prepare mentally and physically for the day. Do not hesitate to ask as many questions as possible regarding the surgery.
Your surgeon might advise a few blood investigations to be aware of the possible complications, if any, during the surgery. There will be a radiographic analysis of the surgical site and adjacent bones to formulate a proper treatment plan.
There can be specific lifestyle changes like cessation of smoking and quitting alcohol that your dentist may advise.
In the case of surgical procedures requiring general anesthesia, there may be some food and liquid intake restrictions for smooth conduction of the anesthesia.
If you are on certain medications like antihypertensives or blood thinners, it is best to inform your surgeon.
Recovery guidelines after the surgery
For any oral surgical procedure, there is a recovery time. To enhance the healing capacity and avoid any complications like the infection of the surgical site, it is best to abide by the post-surgical instructions given by your dentist.
Controlling pain after the procedure
There are two primary therapies used to control post-surgical pain and swelling- icepack and medications. Ice pack has to be applied intermittently on the surgery site, like 10 mins on and 10 mins off the face.
The most common medications prescribed to control the pain are NSAIDs. A regime is followed for effective pain management around the clock to administer painkillers.
What to avoid and what to consume
For the first few days after the surgery, it is recommended not to eat anything hard and also avoid chewing from the side where the surgery was done. It is best to consume a soft and semi-solid diet. Avoid eating hot and spicy food items.
If you are a smoker and have alcohol consumption, it is best to restrain from practice. When returning to a regular normal diet within a few days as recommended by the surgeon, try consuming food items rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, that promotes healing.
When to contact your surgeon
Slight discomfort and swelling after the surgery are normal and can be managed effectively by following the after-care routine. You need to contact your surgeon if you face one or more of the following listed problems.
- Uncontrolled bleeding which is not managed with pressure packs
- Pain that can’t be controlled with medicines
- Signs of infection like fever and pus formation
- Swelling that is persistent or increasing in size
- Constant numbness of lips or any other area
Risks involved with oral surgical procedures
Like any other surgical procedure, there are some risks involved with oral and maxillofacial surgeries also. Some of the common risks associated are-
- Potential change in the facial appearance with major surgeries
- Injury to the nerves causes temporary nerve damage and total damage in some instances.
- Dry socket or alveolar osteitis due to the disintegration of the blood clot due to non-compliance with the safety instructions given to the patient
- Change in the jaw alignment and bite in very rare cases is also a complication associated with certain major surgeries.