What to Expect During Oral Surgery

Oral surgery may seem scary if you don’t know what exactly is going to happen.  Learning about what will happen during your procedure can actually make oral surgery seem far less intimidating and scary.  Being prepared is an excellent step to take, especially if you suffer from anxiety.  Knowing what to expect before, during, and after your oral surgery will help you have a more pleasant experience and better recovery.

Oral surgery is done for a number of reasons including wisdom teeth removal, root canals, reconstructive surgery, jaw surgery and many other reasons.  Each case is unique and by educating yourself you will know exactly what to expect at each phase of your journey.

What to Expect Prior to Oral Surgery

Oral surgery is typically an outpatient procedure.  Prior to the event, you and your dentist will work together to determine which form of anesthesia is going to work best for your specific situation.  You will want to make sure that you have arranged transportation to and from your appointment as you may be unable to drive yourself home after having anesthesia.

Your dentist or oral surgeon may request that you stop eating at a particular time prior to your oral surgery.  It is normal to have to fast between 8 and 12 hours prior to the procedure.  If you are worried about the fasting period you can try to schedule your appointment for early in the morning.  Be sure that you don’t eat breakfast prior to your appointment if this is the case unless your dentist or oral surgeon advises that you should.

Prior to your oral surgery you should find out what is covered by your insurance.  Some oral surgeries can be covered by both your dental and health insurance.  Ask for an estimate of the costs that way you aren’t surprised when you get the bill.

What to Expect During Oral Surgery

Your dentist or oral surgeon should walk you through the procedure before the procedure.  Be sure to ask any questions that you may have so you are fully aware and not anxious about your oral surgery.  Depending on the work that you will be having done along with the type of anesthesia that you and your oral surgeon agreed upon, your anesthesia will be administered either through an IV, a breathing mask or orally as a pill.

The type of anesthesia will also play a part in your role during oral surgery.  If you are not under general anesthesia then you will still be able to respond to instructions because you will be awake, but in a dream-like state.  Your dentist or oral surgeon and nurse will help make you comfortable and explain what is happening during the course of the procedure.

What to Expect After Oral Surgery

One of the best ways to prepare for oral surgery and recovery is to prepare for your recovery time before your appointment.  You will probably spend some time in bed after your surgery so extra pillows, television, magazines and anything else to make yourself comfortable and relax is important.  You will want to avoid smoking after your oral surgery as well as a sucking motion such as drinking through a straw.  This could cause bleeding and damage to the site of the oral surgery.

If you have swelling post-surgery you can reduce swelling by using an ice pack on the area for only 15 minutes at a time.  Swelling will generally decrease after about 48 hours.  After 24 hours your dentist or oral surgeon may tell you to start rinsing your mouth four times a day and after meals with warm salt water.  You may also be prescribed antibiotics or other medication depending on the type of oral surgery you had done.

It is recommended that you eat soft foods that are rich in Vitamin A or C for the first two days following oral surgery.  Avoid crunchy or hard foods for six to eight weeks or until fully healed.  Be mindful of the temperature of your food as well.  As your anesthesia wears off you may not notice if a food or beverage is too hot and you could significantly burn yourself without realizing it.

The first 48 hours after your oral surgery are the most critical phase.  It is extremely important that you follow any instructions given to you from your dentist or oral surgeon.  Stay in bed as much as you can during this time so your body has an opportunity to fully recover.  After the first 48 hours you will move into the long-term healing phase.  The length of this phase will vary depending on which procedure you have had done.  Extractions and common surgeries typically only take one or two weeks to completely heal but any jaw surgery can take a month or more to heal.

While oral surgery can be stressful you can help reduce your anxiety by being prepared and knowing what to expect.  Your best resource is your dentist or oral surgeon.  They can answer any questions you might have in detail.  Be sure to express your concerns and questions so that you can become comfortable with the process.  Follow all instructions before, during, and after your oral surgery to get the best results with the least amount of recovery time.

If you have any questions or concerns about oral surgery, please call us at Progressive Dental Care Center.

250 Fame Ave Ste 206
Hanover, PA 17331
PHONE 717-637-0202
Monday ............... 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday ............... 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Wednesday .......... 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Thursday ............. 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Friday .................. 8:30 AM - 4 PM