Heading to the dental office for oral surgery can be quite intimidating. But knowing what to expect can ease those jitters and help you through the experience. It can also be comforting to know that you are not alone. Nearly 600 million people every year have to undergo oral surgery. With that in mind, here are four common dental procedures that you might encounter on a future visit to the dentist.
Common Oral Surgery Procedures
Teeth need to be extracted for a variety of reasons, whether they be rot and decay or injury and impacted teeth. For example, impacted teeth, or wisdom teeth, often need to be removed. During extraction, dentists will provide anesthesia services.
Recovery takes a few days to a few weeks. You should take it especially easy 24 hours after this oral surgery, and be sure to consume plenty of fluids and stick to soft foods.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
Jaw, or orthognathic, surgery is needed for a plethora of reasons, such as trauma, misalignment of the jawbones or teeth grinding, among others. You will likely be outfitted with braces before surgery, and your surgeon will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth.
You will need to stay a few nights in the hospital after jaw surgery. You’ll want to rest, and healing may take six to 12 weeks.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, more than three million people have dental implants, which can act as artificial roots and help preserve your natural bone. With implants, you may need bone reconstruction or gum modification.
After this oral surgery, eat only soft foods. If needed, take pain medication as directed, but if pain and swelling get worse after your visit, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.
Gum Graft Surgery
According to WebMD, gum recession affects 4 to 12% of adults. Gum recession occurs when your gum tissue pulls away from your tooth. The recession results in exposure of more of the tooth and sometimes even the tooth root. Dentists often recommend gum graft surgery to correct this problem. The oral surgeon removes tissue from either your palate or gums and stitches the tissue to the area where your gums have receded. A local anesthetic is used and your surgeon may also offer a sedative to help you relax during the procedure.
Gum graft surgery is an outpatient procedure. You will be able to go home afterward. If you have taken a sedative, though, be sure to have someone who can drive for you. As with other oral surgery, gum graft post-op care will involve following your dentist’s instructions regarding diet, physical activity, and medication. Do not floss or brush the surgical area until it is healed, usually about two weeks. Your dentist can give you mouth rinse to prevent plaque build-up and antibiotic cream to reduce chances of infection. Mouth tissue heals quickly and you should be back to normal in a week or two.
If you need oral surgery, you are joining millions of Americans who are in the same boat. Whether you need a common procedure, such as an extraction, jaw surgery, dental implants, gum grafting or something else entirely, do not worry. Your oral surgeon will be there every step of the way.
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