Six Questions to Ask Your Oral Surgeon Before a Procedure

Six Questions to Ask Your Oral Surgeon Before a Procedure

Patients are often anxious at the thought of any surgery, and oral surgery is no exception. Fortunately, the experts at Oral Surgery DC are here to help. Dr. Nkungula is committed to ensuring you have the information you need to feel comfortable and confident before your procedure. 

Whether you were referred to Oral Surgery DC by your regular dentist or you are interested in an elective treatment, knowing what to expect is key to your peace of mind. These are the six questions to ask your oral surgeon as you review your treatment plan. 

What Can I Do to Prepare Before My Oral Surgery?

The best way to ensure that your oral surgery goes smoothly is to be fully prepared. You can ask your oral surgeon for details on what you can do before and after the procedure for best results. 

For example, in most cases, you should refrain from eating or drinking anything for at least six hours before your oral surgery. It’s also important to know that smoking and vaping are discouraged in the 12 hours before your oral surgery. Nicotine makes it harder for your body to heal. 

Asking how long the procedure takes is helpful for preparation. While your oral surgeon won’t be able to tell you the exact moment you will be ready to go home, it is possible to share the average duration based on experience with similar procedures. That allows you to make arrangements for transportation and any other support you will need after your oral surgery. 

Finally, your oral surgeon is likely to recommend that you spend at least 24 hours resting and recovering from your procedure. Driving, decision-making, and other important tasks may be difficult immediately following oral surgery. 

How Long Is the Standard Recovery Period?

There are two good reasons to ask how long the average recovery period is for your type of oral surgery. First, you can plan for time away from work and enlist extra help from friends, family, and caretakers if you will need it. 

Second, many patients find that it is easier to manage through periods of discomfort when they know that discomfort is likely to end soon – and if it doesn’t, they know when it is time to let their oral surgeon know that something isn’t quite right. 

What Are the Risks or Potential Complications of This Procedure?

No procedure is completely without risk, and complications can occur no matter how smoothly the actual surgical procedure goes. Understanding the risks and potential complications of your oral surgery is a must, so you can make the decision that is right for you. 

As your oral surgeon reviews the risks and complications of a procedure, they will also let you know what to look for once you go home. For example, if an infection is a common complication of your procedure, you will know how to identify the signs early so you can get the right treatment before it becomes a serious issue. 

What Are the Options for Sedation and Pain Relief?

Anxiety is common before and during oral surgery, and the procedures can be downright painful. Of course, local anesthesia during the procedure is standard practice. However, your oral surgeon wants you to be as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure and afterward, so they will offer additional sedation and pain relief options appropriate to your situation. 

Be sure to make your oral surgeon aware of your medical history and any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you already take. Talk through your concerns, your preferences, and any other relevant factors to create a sedation and pain relief plan that meets your needs. 

What Aftercare Is Required and What Restrictions Will I Have?

As with any other medical procedure, you will need time to heal after your oral surgery. That begins with taking special care to get the rest you need to recover. In addition, there may be strictly off-limits activities, like smoking, vaping, or sucking through a straw. This is relevant when wisdom teeth are removed, for example, because the sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot over your jawbone, leading to serious complications. 

You may also be required to refrain from certain foods while you are healing — in most cases, that includes hard foods like nuts and candies. Soft foods like yogurt, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, applesauce, and smoothies are much better for a healing mouth. 

There is often a special oral hygiene routine to follow until you are back to 100 percent. For example, you may be asked to rinse with a saltwater solution or pass on regular brushing for a period. Understanding aftercare and restrictions before your procedure allow you to plan ahead and obtain any supplies you will need beforehand. 

What Exactly Does My Procedure Involve?

Some patients like to know the details of their procedures, while others prefer a high-level overview. If you want a step-by-step explanation, let your oral surgeon know. On the other hand, if you are more comfortable with the basics necessary to give informed consent, that’s okay, too. It’s perfectly normal for patients to find that too much information increases their anxiety levels. 

Remember, open communication is a must when undergoing oral surgery and sharing any questions or concerns before your procedure will ensure the best possible outcome. With the right information, you can maximize the likelihood of a fast, uncomplicated recovery so you can get back to your normal routine as soon as possible. 

If you would like to learn more about oral surgery options, contact the experts at Oral Surgery DC today.

Image credits: Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

A Patient’s Guide to Choosing an Oral Surgeon

A Patient’s Guide to Preventing Tooth Loss

Mastering your own oral healthcare can be hard work. Without taking the right steps regularly, it can be easy to end up with an unhealthy mouth: cavities, staining, gum disease, and, eventually, tooth loss. Tooth loss can wreak havoc on your overall health and well-being. However, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed about the prospect of keeping your teeth, gums, tongue, and palette clean and healthy over time — or worried about your potential inability to properly care for your mouth, despite your best efforts. In reality, all it takes is learning a few oral care best practices in order to prevent tooth loss.

Dental care is a multi-part process. Your dentist is in charge of doing regular professional cleanings and work. It is your job to both visit the dentist regularly and maintain a regular schedule of routine oral maintenance. If you want to ensure tooth loss prevention, even as you age, learn the basics of dental care, what tooth loss treatment looks like if you think you might be at risk of losing a tooth (or teeth), and how to manage oral health challenges as they arise. Then, put what you learned into action — so you’ll have a smile you feel proud of for years to come.

The Dangers of Tooth Loss

Losing a tooth may be an aesthetically unappealing idea to you. However, adult tooth loss poses far more risks than simply putting a hole in your smile. First, when there are spaces between your teeth, they tend to shift. Losing a tooth may cause all of your teeth to shift, causing crookedness or crowding. Next, your gums may begin to recede if you’ve lost a tooth. This can not only make the teeth around the receded gum vulnerable to plaque and bacteria (and generally weaker), but can also lead to potential gum disease, which can spread throughout your gums (and not just in the spot where you lost the tooth). A tooth lost as an adult can also cause your jawbone to shrink.

How to Prevent Tooth Loss

  1. Stay on top of dental hygiene. Dental hygiene includes many steps, like brushing and flossing your teeth daily, going to the dentist regularly, and even asking your dentist to show you how to floss properly. If you make dental hygiene a focus in your life and part of your daily routine, you can greatly decrease the chances you’ll lose a tooth as an adult.
  2. Avoid tobacco. Don’t just stay away from cigarettes because they cause cancer. Avoid them (and all other forms of tobacco) because they are terrible for your teeth. Studies show that smokers lose twice as many teeth as non-smokers.
  3. Choose foods and drinks carefully. Some foods and drinks are simply terrible for your dental health. These things include dark-colored soft drinks, sugary candy, and alcoholic beverages. Eat a tooth-friendly diet for tooth loss prevention. This doesn’t only mean avoiding certain foods; it also means incorporating foods good for your teeth, like crunchy vegetables, which stimulate gums and get rid of debris stuck on your teeth.
  4. Take care of your body and focus on wellness. While some accidents and injuries can’t be avoided, you can do your part to ensure you protect your body (and teeth) in your daily life. For example, make sure you wear a mouthguard when you play sports, don’t open “stuck” lids using your teeth, and lower your stress levels so you decrease the chances you grind your teeth at night. Some people may lose a tooth in an accident or injury, but you can do your best to minimize the chances of that happening to you.
  5. Pay attention to dry mouth. Dry mouth isn’t only annoying. It can also be dangerous for your teeth since a lack of saliva can lead to a buildup of bacteria on your teeth and gums, gum disease, and, ultimately, tooth loss. Dry mouth can be the sign of a more serious health condition or a side effect of a medication, but there are medications and treatments for chronic dry mouth, and it is worth addressing if you experience it regularly.

Worried About Tooth Loss? Seek Out Dental Care

If you are worried that you may be experiencing tooth loss, or if you have already lost a tooth, the best thing you can do is seek out professional care. Oral Surgery DC has excellent oral surgeons who specialize in helping people with issues surrounding tooth loss. The team at Oral Surgery DC can help you take care of your dental health for improved well-being and quality of life. So, reach out to us today. We have solutions that can ensure your teeth don’t shift, you don’t get gum disease or lose more teeth, and that you stay confident about your smile.

Image credits: Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash.