Quality Care Nearby: Discover an Oral Surgeon Near Your Location

1. Introduction

Through a combination of choice diction, artistic allusion, and multi-dimensional tone, the passage successfully conveys the significance of oral surgeons. The importance of the job is displayed in the very first sentence of the essay, “Oral surgeons are valuable to the dental profession…” shortly followed by a support “Without them, various difficult and complex surgeries for repair of deformities, injuries, and other damage to the mouth would not be possible” which explains how oral surgeons the main force of progression in dental health care are due to their specialized skills. These sentences can also be contrasted with the techniques of logical separation which comes in the form of boxed points that were inserted on page 2. The sentence “…figure out what treatment is best for the patient.” separates the decision-making element of treatment from the rest of the surgery, which emphasizes that deciding what treatment is best for a patient is a long and tough process in itself. This is effective because it sets the theme that a patient must be mentally prepared before they visit an oral surgeon. Another method of logic separation is bolded points around the middle of the passage which say “3 out of 4 active dentists perform surgery. However, with recent technical advancements, more and more dentists are restricting their practices to the provision of care, rather than surgery which can be seen from a decline of 5% in surgeries performed by general dentists between 1996-2006. As certain surgical procedures are becoming more complex, the public is seeking specialists for surgeries…” which add further evidence to the trend that oral surgeons are an increasingly valuable asset to dental care due to public preference. The formatting of the entire passage is also key in the delivery of its message. The bulk of the passage is standardized but occasional use of bold and italics serves to highlight important points. The formal language and structured formatting mean that the passage can be best understood through oral delivery rather than individual reading.

2. Importance of Oral Surgeons

Oral surgeons, also known as maxillofacial surgeons, deal with the diagnosis and treatment of defects, injuries, and diseases affecting the mouth, teeth, jaws, and face. Often, when one is referred to an “oral surgeon,” it is because their dentist is unfamiliar with the problem at hand and would like the opinion of someone with more experience or expertise. In some cases, the dentist may be able to initiate a referral because they know the situation is out of their hands or scope of practice. Usually, oral surgery is carried out to relieve pain, treat infection, restore function, or improve appearance. Most patients are unaware of the many conditions that the oral surgeon is equipped to treat. These conditions can range from removal of impacted teeth to repair of facial trauma. One of the most common conditions an oral surgeon deals with is the removal of wisdom teeth. The average person has four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. Removal of these teeth is advised when it is determined that they are impacted, simply because damage can occur to the adjacent teeth or jawbone. Often times, the tooth is unable to fully erupt through the gum and becomes enclosed by the jawbone. Removal of an impacted tooth, or extraction, is a routine procedure for an oral surgeon and can be performed using local anesthetic, intravenous sedation, or general anesthetic.

3. Accessibility of Quality Care

Paying attention to the pressing factors existing in the current healthcare sector, the patient’s willingness to undergo health seeking behaviour is greatly affected. This is evident following the increase in outpatient treatment. Day by day, the developments in consumer satisfaction index is alarming, hence it should be taken seriously by healthcare providers in order to maintain their survival in the market. If patients are not satisfied with the services provided, there is no doubt they will seek treatment elsewhere. Market positioning strategy is now vital to ensure patients keep demanding for our services. It is true that we deal with a variety of patients with various tooth, mouth and jaw issues. There will be some cases that will stretch our expertise and technical ability to its limit. But there are also cases which are straightforward and can be managed by most of us. Regardless, in our current economic climate, cost will be an issue in every sector. So quality care provided with affordable cost should be universal and not only provided to a selected group of patients. Satisfaction is heavily influenced by the outcome of services provided. It is evident that patients with good experiences tend to have better results following treatment and are more loyal to the healthcare provider concerned. Local and surrounding area residents (including working and newly moved in populations) play a critical role in regards to the success of private practices. This is because their dependency on treatment is higher and proportionally they create more referral opportunities. Now, considering the growth of information technology, it has restructured the way we disseminate information. Patients are now more informed while making decisions regarding medical and dental treatments. Treatment comparisons will now involve not only expertise and cost. It will also involve the methods and technology used during the procedure.

4. Finding an Oral Surgeon

Remember that finding the right oral surgeon is a process that takes time. It usually cannot be done in one day, unless there is an emergency situation. This is a person you are entrusting with your health and appearance. Take the time to be thorough in your research and the best results will follow.

The third step is to read patient reviews. Patient reviews are a great way to learn about the surgeon as a person and about their interactions with patients. Many patients even post before and after photos. These are positive indicators of the quality of care you will receive and the cosmetic surgical results that can be expected.

The second step is to check credentials and experience. Patients need to know where the surgeon went to school and what kind of specialty training they have. Finding an oral surgeon that has a specific specialty is important because it means that they have concentrated knowledge in that field. Patients will know a surgeon has had specialty training if they have a fellowship in that field, or if they are board eligible/board certified.

Researching local oral surgeons is the first step to finding the right surgeon. Nowadays, the internet has made this process easier than ever. Search engines can locate all local oral surgeons, along with a variety of websites dedicated to helping patients search for specific specialists. Many sites allow searching by a variety of criteria, including location, specialty, insurance, and gender. Once a few surgeon candidates have been selected, the next step is learning more about them.

2.1 Researching Local Oral Surgeons

In the internet age, one of the best ways to find information on a local business or service is to use a search engine. By entering the service needed in this case oral surgeon and the location, a list of websites for all of the surgeons in the area will be generated. Websites often have a lot of information about the surgeon as well as contact information to book appointments or consultations. This can be a very simple and effective way to see what services are available locally. Be aware though that not all advertisement on the internet means that a particular surgeon is the best choice for the job, these are simply the ones that have managed to generate the most public interest.

When it comes to researching local oral surgeons, there are a number of ways to go about finding the very best one near to your home or workplace. Here are a few important steps you should take.

2.2 Checking Credentials and Experience

As with other professions, an oral surgeon should have a strong education and years of experience in the field. Much of this information can be found on internet searches and inquiries with their office. A good place to start would be researching their undergraduate and post-graduate education. This should give you some indication of how well-qualified the surgeon is. The surgeon’s level of expertise should translate directly into the types of procedures they can offer you. Over time, they will have honed their skills and possibly (should the education be there) learned new techniques and procedures. This is something you’ll want to investigate as it could also impact the success and/or difficulty of your procedure. Learning the frequency with which a surgeon performs a certain procedure is a good indicator of their proficiency in the field. A surgeon that does a procedure often is likely to have better results. This can be found through your conversation with the surgeon as he should offer you detailed information and possibly even statistics relating to your surgery. Finally, you may want to ask about their participation in continuing education. In the medical field, techniques and technology are constantly changing and improving. You’ll want a surgeon that can offer you the best, most current information, procedures and equipment. This information is standards fairly high. Unfortunately, every surgeon has to start somewhere. This information does have to be verified with the surgeon’s office. If a lawsuit has ever been filed, it’s on record and must be made available to the public. The knowledge of malpractice in a surgeon’s history is a crucial factor. While this may not be public information, a clean record is a good sign. Any surgeon with repeated offenses or malpractice claims should be avoided.

2.3 Reading Patient Reviews

In understanding the reviews, the prospective patient should consider the nature of the event for which they are reading. Reviews of minor procedures such as extractions may have less bearing on more complex proposed treatments such as dental implants or orthognathic surgery. Stepwise complications and high failure rates in certain procedures may also be more difficult to assess from reading patient reviews. An interaction with the surgeon may help to facilitate these judgments.

Written patient reviews of oral surgeons are posted on a variety of online platforms and represent an excellent resource available to prospective patients. While such reviews may not be comprehensive and will tend to present the more extreme experiences, positive or negative, they should not be overlooked. They will at least provide an indicator of the patient experience to be expected. If reviews are consistently positive, it may well be a much safer bet that the surgeon will provide competent care. Conversely, recurring complaints across multiple reviews should be taken as a serious warning sign. Issues related to interpersonal conduct, wrong diagnoses and treatment, and damage done to the patient are cause for concern.

3. Oral Surgery Procedures

Extracting a wisdom tooth is a common and relatively simple procedure. As the wisdom tooth develops, they may emerge through the gum and grow in a variety of different angles. Sometimes they emerge without difficulty, causing no pain or damage to other teeth or the surrounding gum. However, in many cases the mouth is simply not big enough to accommodate these new teeth, which can cause various problems. If the tooth only partially emerges, a gap is left which bacteria can build up in and which can be difficult to clean. This can cause inflammation of the gum. Other teeth may be displaced, causing pain or problems in eating. When a wisdom tooth grows in the wrong direction and there is little chance it can emerge without causing more pain, damage and complications, then removal is recommended. An x-ray will be taken to determine the exact position of the tooth and its roots before the removal procedure. This x-ray will also indicate the proximity of the nerve which runs through the mandible. This nerve supplies sensation to the lower lip, chin and lower teeth. If the wisdom tooth is either touching or too close to the nerve, a referral to a specialist to evaluate the risk of nerve damage may be necessary. Damage to this nerve can cause lingual nerve paraesthesia and/or altered sensation in the affected areas.

3.1 Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. Wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 17 and 24. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt. These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Damage to the adjacent teeth; wisdom teeth can be in close proximity to the second molars. If a cyst forms and ends up destroying the second molar, that’s two teeth that could have been saved with a normal tooth extraction and not to mention, additional oral complications with the removal of more teeth. At Integrity Dental, Drs. Ragone and Scaffa will discuss the signs of wisdom teeth complications and your options for treatment. Oftentimes, removal of the wisdom teeth early in the teen years will result in an easier procedure with shorter recovery because the roots have not fully developed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. If the wisdom teeth are removed while the patient is young, it is recommended by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, to alleviate future problems and to ensure optimal healing. At your initial consultation and throughout the extraction procedure, our doctors and staff will make you as comfortable as possible to ensure optimal peace of mind. After answering any questions you may have, our patients will decide if it is best to be put to sleep, a benefit to those who are uneasy about oral surgery procedures and for the comfort and ease for the surgical extraction of the wisdom teeth.

3.2 Dental Implants

When a person loses teeth, they begin to look and feel older. They also lose the ability to eat and speak. Dental implants can restore a patient’s quality of life. What are dental implants? The actual dental implant is a titanium screw that is placed into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth root. After osseointegration, or when the surrounding bone has attached to the implant, a crown is then placed onto the implant to replace the missing tooth. Implants may be used for a range of problems from replacing a single missing tooth to rebuilding an entire mouth. After 20 years of service, the long-term survival rate of implants is between 95% and 99%. This is due to the unique material and the fact that it is not living and therefore cannot suffer from disease. The science and success of implant treatment is a testament to both the research and biological understanding of how the human body functions and accepts foreign materials. Because of the success of this treatment, it is becoming the standard of care in the replacement of missing teeth. Dental implants are now widely recognized as the preferred alternative to dentures or bridgework for replacing failing or missing teeth.

3.3 Jaw Surgery

Jaw surgery not only can improve a person’s appearance but also it can improve chewing, speaking, and breathing. In cases where speech or chewing is impaired, it is often found that correcting the jaw position will improve these problems. Overall, well-being is enhanced by the surgery. People with jaw problems don’t sleep well sometimes. It’s not actually the sufferers’ fault, as they try hard to sleep well. But facial pain and discomfort can lead to major sleep disturbance. Often, the quality of sleep is significantly improved after corrective jaw surgery, and this will lead to enhanced productivity and attitude throughout the day.

Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of surgery designed to correct various minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth, which can often cause a multitude of problems speaking and eating. This could be a result of a birth defect, growth disturbance, or an injury. In some cases, a bad bite could be inherited, and for this reason, the teeth are straight but the jaws are positioned incorrectly. Using the latest in digital imaging technology, the surgeons are able to demonstrate the course of surgery. This will allow for a better understanding of the surgical process as well as educate the patient on the underlying problem. This technology can often reduce the treatment time, allowing the patient to return to normal activity in a short period of time. Other patients may require a more comprehensive surgery with orthodontic treatment to correct a severe skeletal problem. The surgeon is able to predetermine the position of the jaws and teeth with computer-guided visual aids.

3.4 TMJ Treatment

A common TMJ disorder is a displacement of the joint. You may notice a clicking sound or experience pain opening and closing your mouth. The joint can become inflamed and present with limited movement and sharp pain. Another common problem is an uneven wearing of the cartilage. This can occur if the cartilage is eroded or if the lower jaw is forced too far back. Erosion will lead to a grating bone on bone sensation, and force will cause a wearing in the form of an aching pain in the jaw and surrounding areas. These problems can be quite serious and may require surgery. In general, if nonsurgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is clear joint damage, surgery may be indicated. It is useful to have the problem clearly defined and the probable success of surgery assessed before undertaking the surgical option. Success in treatment can vary among different patients and problems. Surgery may result in the need for orthodontics to correct an occlusal problem which has resulted from an anatomical change. This too should be factored into the overall plan of treatment with consideration of the timing of each phase.

The TMJ is the joint connecting the lower jaw and skull, and is one of the most complex in the body. This joint is used in speaking, eating, swallowing, and other everyday activities. If there is misalignment or damage to this joint, these everyday activities can become uncomfortable and difficult. It is critical to have this joint examined if you suspect a problem. An oral surgeon can help diagnose and treat the cause of your TMJ disorder.

4. Benefits of Local Oral Surgeons

The primary benefit of choosing an oral surgeon near your location is the easy access to care. For patients living in or around the suburbs, it can be very difficult to secure timely appointments with oral surgeons who practice in the downtown core of large cities. Patients who have to see a specialist before or after work, or during their lunch break, do not want to spend time battling traffic, finding parking, and waiting on delayed public transportation just to reach an appointment that should only take minutes to an hour. Frequently, the busier the physician, the longer the patient has to wait for an appointment. Spacing appointments a reasonable time apart is a strategy employed by certain specialists in order to deal with the unexpected issues that can arise in surgery or in treating medically complex patients. While this often results in better care for the individual patient, it can be frustrating to take time off work only to be told your appointment must be rescheduled. High demand specialists are also more likely to overbook appointments, so even if walk-in patients are seen, the waits can be prolonged. By choosing a surgeon whose practice is located near their home or work, a patient increases the likelihood of never having to cancel an appointment due to time constraints and of being able to see the surgeon on time. In many scenarios, better care may be possible when the patient can consult the surgeon, evaluate their medical status concerning the surgery, and schedule the surgery at the first appointment, since the surgeon will be more readily available for communication regarding preoperative planning and postoperative issues. Given the very busy schedules of many patients and very high demand for their time, the quicker and easier everything is, the more likely it is to happen.

4.1 Convenient Appointments

Emergency services are also more readily available to the local community. A surgeon that is situated far away from the residents of a rural area may be difficult to reach and not willing to make an extensive travel for a single patient. But individuals located in communities where their surgeon is also a resident can appreciate the fact that if a serious injury should occur, there is a much higher likelihood that their surgeon will drop what he is doing and come to the aid of his neighbor or community member, even if it is after regular business hours. This additional service may not be openly advertised by the surgeon and is a quality of local care that is often taken for granted. But it is actually a significant advantage that should be considered when weighing the benefits of having a local oral surgeon.

Upon discovering an oral surgeon near your locale as a result of exploring the advantages of local oral surgeons, you will find that the convenience of scheduling an appointment will be greatly increased. Instead of waiting for a specialist to make his rounds to a rural area, where he will be available for a very short period of time, if he comes at all, you will have a much broader range of times and dates from which to choose. A greater sense of urgency and flexibility can be exercised when his office is just a few miles away from your home or place of work. But more importantly, if a severe injury or condition requiring treatment should arise, you can often schedule a same day appointment or a next day visit if the surgeon is local. This is a tremendous advantage over an individual who will need to schedule a treatment that is ambiguous in time, and usually wait several weeks for an available appointment. Delay of treatment of oral surgeries can often result in further infection or exacerbated pain and discomfort.

4.2 Reduced Travel Time and Costs

The draw of the cheaper and sometimes free services is a common reason for seeking oral care in public hospitals, and it’s not uncommon for waiting areas to be crowded with patients from lower-income households and subsequent extenuating circumstances. These environments can be uncomfortable and stressful, and there is an increased risk of infection from recently ill patients. Although, on the other hand, recommending that a patient goes to a private surgeon can also have its drawbacks. With the point of unnecessary expenditure, cost is a concern for a lot of patients, and it will be less likely that they will request further treatment or more complicated procedures even if it is required. This is when a local private oral surgeon is still the best option; patients will receive comprehensive treatment with added flexibility as the aspect of cost is more easily tailored.

When booking with a local oral surgeon, patients may be able to find practices with more flexible hours and shorter waiting periods. Patients not only spend less time travelling, they also have increased opportunity for rescheduling or making immediate appointments. Hospital-based oral surgeons have tight schedules and are unable to accommodate changes in appointment time and dates. This limitation can be annoying if the patient requires a follow-up visit, meaning they will have to go through the original process of seeing a surgeon to see if alternative appointments are available, which is usually not the case.

4.3 Familiarity with Local Healthcare System

Local oral surgeons have an intimate knowledge of the area’s healthcare system. They are familiar with the needs of the local community and, in some cases, may be able to provide outreach services and early intervention strategies to prevent oral healthcare problems. They are also well connected with local emergency services and are able to provide better follow-up treatment in cases of dental emergencies. By being a part of the local healthcare system, oral surgeons are in a good position to provide treatment referrals to patients requiring other forms of healthcare (for example, patients requiring IV sedation, general anesthesia, or admission to the hospital). Knowledge of other colleagues in the healthcare system is of benefit to oral surgeons when treating patients with complex medical histories. Being able to consult with a patient’s medical specialist regarding their medical condition and receiving advice on the management of their oral healthcare problem is an important aspect of treating medically compromised patients. All of the aforementioned examples of local surgeons’ familiarity with the healthcare system culminate in better treatment outcomes and greater patient satisfaction.

5. Insurance Coverage and Financing Options

Insurance coverage can be a cloudy topic to understand, with some of the fine details in policies leaving patients confused as to what is covered and what is not. It’s very important to understand the features of your insurance policy and what your likely out-of-pocket expense will be. This will vary depending on the procedure to be performed and can only be determined by contacting your insurance provider. To start, try to get your hands on a copy of your policy (or at least the pages regarding dental benefits) and look for the definitions section. This will outline how things are phrased and classified under your policy. A common clause in an insurance policy is the “exclusion” of certain procedures, stating that it is not a covered benefit. Be aware of this when considering surgery. Pre-determinations are common for surgeries of a high cost and can provide an estimate of what the insurance company will pay and what your cost share will be. This is generally obtained by the surgeon sending in a letter detailing the procedure to be performed. This all sounds like a headache, but being well informed will ease this process and avoid any unexpected costs. It’s also important to check whether your surgeon is in or out of network. This will be detailed in the provider directory from your insurance company. An in-network surgeon has made an agreement with your insurance company to provide services at a pre-negotiated rate. Out-of-network surgeons are not held to these same agreements and there may be larger out-of-pocket costs if you proceed with them.

5.1 Understanding Insurance Policies

After receiving this information, it is often helpful to receive help from the oral surgeon’s office. The next step is to acquire a pre-determination from your insurance carrier. This is a written form that is usually facilitated by the surgeon’s office and sent to the insurance carrier. This form determines the amount of coverage that is available, allows the insurance company to request any necessary information from the surgeon’s office, and often speeds up the claims process.

The best means of getting the most coverage for oral surgery is by having a complete understanding of your medical insurance policy. This can be achieved by contacting your employer’s HR department, or contacting your insurance carrier (the telephone number is often located on the back of your insurance card), and personally speaking with a representative. Ask whether the procedure is covered, to what extent it is covered, and if there are any limitations or specifications with the procedure.

One of the most efficient ways to pay for oral surgery is through your medical insurance policy. Most insurance policies distinguish between medical and dental insurances. Often, oral surgery is covered under medical insurance plans, and though it is important to contact your insurance company for individual information, oral surgeries are often covered between 50-80%. Dental insurance plans generally do not cover oral surgery procedures, the main reason being the overlap between medical and dental insurance plans, and the assumption that the surgery is or can be a medical necessity.

5.2 In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Surgeons

Many insurance policy holders are unclear about the link between the quality of care and their surgeon’s network status. A common misperception is that in-network surgeons provide inferior care, simply because an insurance company pays less. However, this is not the case. The contractual agreement between an insurance company and a surgeon is receipt of an agreed-upon fee for service. How much the insurance company will reimburse a patient is all that is different between in-network and out-of-network care. The patient’s out-of-pocket expenses, however, can vary dramatically between in and out of network care. In-network surgeons agree to the fee schedule set up by an insurance company. This can result in a 30-40% difference in what the insurance company will pay for a given procedure. Unfortunately, the patient’s share of these savings is usually minimal. Out-of-pocket maximums for in-network care are typically 1/3 less expensive than the same benefits for out-of-network care. The in-network maximums are often close to the state average for a given procedure. Out-of-network surgeons billing independent of insurance companies often set their fees at a rate commensurate with their expertise and the quality of care they provide. This can result in insurance reimbursements that are less than what the patient would receive for the same procedure performed in-network. It is not unusual for the patient’s share of an out-of-network procedure to exceed the surgeon’s fee, due to higher allowable expenses. This would mean the patient is paying more for the same care and a lower percentage of the total cost is being applied to a deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. Under such circumstances, it is worth considering whether the quality of a surgeon is worth it to have a larger cost burden and more expensive care.

5.3 Financing Options for Oral Surgery

Oral surgery can be expensive, and sometimes insurance coverage is not an option. It is important to discuss with your surgeon financial options and everything that it includes. Majority of surgeons offer no interest or low interest financing options with reputable companies over an extended period of time. In most cases, a credit check is required to gain approval and this is an attractive option for many patients. Automatic bank drafts or recurring credit card payments are typical requirements for these plans. Another option includes healthcare credit through a company such as Capital One. Approval rates are high with these programs and they offer plans with low monthly payments and competitive interest rates. These companies often provide an immediate response regarding approval status and they pay the surgeon in full very quickly after surgery is completed.

6. Preparing for Oral Surgery

Patients who are to undergo oral surgery are generally advised to come in for a consultation with the oral surgeon. During the consultation, the surgeon will perform a thorough examination of the patient’s case, which includes x-rays of patients’ jaws. These visual representations of a patient’s oral anatomy allow the oral surgeon to identify important information such as the position of the wisdom teeth and their proximity to the nerve located in the jaw. The x-ray also allows the current degree of impaction to be determined so that the surgeon can accurately predict what kind of complexity will be involved in removing the teeth. On average, patients have their wisdom teeth evaluated between the ages of 16 and 19 and are advised to schedule an appointment to meet with the oral surgeon for a consultation. This is the optimal time as it is when the root of the tooth is forming, resulting in a smoother extraction process when the tooth has fully developed. After the consultation, the surgeon will then explain in detail the surgery procedure and what to expect and give the patient information to prepare for the surgery. Sometimes, the surgery can be scheduled the same day as the consultation if the patient feels ready and does not require any further preparation.

6.1 Consultation and Evaluation

As with any medical procedure, the key to a successful outcome is a well-informed patient. You should be comfortable asking questions about your diagnosis and treatment options. We want all our patients to be informed and comfortable about their treatment. Sometimes, the complexity of certain diagnoses and treatment options require a subsequent visit to provide adequate time for a discussion with the doctor and clearer understanding of the condition and treatment. High-end diagnostic imaging provides the necessary visual tools for understanding complex jaw deformities and TMJ disorders. Digital imaging and diagnostic ultrasound can be used to capture precise images of the temporomandibular joint and surrounding anatomy. This technology is safe and comfortable for patients and provides invaluable information for diagnosis and treatment planning. This initial consultation and discussion of diagnostic imaging will give you a clear understanding of your diagnosis and treatment options. For more extensive and complex jaw deformities, a 3D model of your anatomy can be fabricated from the diagnostic imaging. This model can be used to demonstrate the abnormal jaw anatomy and simulate corrective treatment so there is a clear understanding of the procedure.

You have made the important decision to have jaw reconstruction, TMJ treatment, or wisdom tooth removal. These are not routine procedures, so oral and maxillofacial surgery requires specialized knowledge and training. Your dentist has referred you to the oral and facial surgeon and you may have questions about the nature of the treatment which is to be provided. Your first visit to the oral and facial surgeon will consist of a thorough examination and a discussion of possible treatment options. This is a very important visit.

6.2 Preoperative Instructions

All patients having surgical procedures under any form of anesthesia should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours prior to surgery. You may be drowsy from taking preoperative medication and it is too easy to spit or swallow and we could inhale food or liquids into the lungs; this would cause serious lung infection. Failure to follow these instructions will result in cancellation of your surgery and a rescheduling fee. An adult must still accompany you home. A local anesthetic (novocaine) does not require that you have someone accompany you or have nothing to eat or drink prior to surgery.

Please prepare for postoperative care before your surgery if general anesthesia or IV sedation is planned. You must have a responsible adult present to accompany you home. This person should stay with you for 24 hours if possible. They should be familiar with the postoperative instructions and any prescription drugs you may require.

Preoperative instructions ensure a successful surgical experience. It is important to strictly follow these instructions to minimize the possibility of complications. Please make sure you understand what you are supposed to do and not hesitate to call the office if you have any questions.

6.3 Managing Anxiety and Fear

It is also somewhat expected that you have fear and anxiety about a prospective surgical procedure. Always keep in mind that our office has the interest of our patients at heart. We will try to reach out to you before your consultation or surgery to indicate our understanding of any concerns specific to your case. Do not hesitate to communicate any such concerns or to simply inquire about more information regarding any step of the procedure or the surgery itself. Better understanding leads to less fear and anxiety.

Patients are often afraid when they need oral surgery. There are, however, many ways to manage anxiety before treatment. The worries are often worse than the reality. Oral surgery today is a routine procedure, which is carried out in a way that puts patients at ease. It provides an excellent way of dealing with any pain and discomfort that the patient might be suffering. There are several ways to help a patient minimize any potential anxiety.

7. Recovery and Postoperative Care

After having oral surgery, one may assume they are finished with the procedure after leaving the oral surgeon’s office. However, there is another important part of the surgery that requires attention, that is the recovery. The recovery phase of oral surgery is a crucial part of having a successful outcome. Make sure you understand what needs to be done, and the amount of time needed to prepare for the level of postoperative care that will be involved. The more involved you are, the easier and quicker the recovery period will proceed, thus allowing you to return to health and your normal activities. The information presented here is a general guide since each individual may have specific postoperative instructions given to them by their surgeon regarding this sensitive topic. Most people feel a listlessness or tiredness for several hours after surgery due to the anesthetic received. It is a good idea to rest for the remainder of the day following surgery to ensure that the anesthetic has worn off. It is not wise to plan any rigorous activities for the first few days after surgery. Rest is a key factor that will aid in the recovery period. Too much activity too soon will cause increased swelling, pain, and may prolong bleeding. Resume your regular activities at the earliest possible time. If you are taking prescription pain medication, do not operate a motor vehicle for 12-24 hours and be very cautious when attempting to resume normal activities. Another form of rest that is often suggested is head elevation. This doesn’t necessarily mean staying in bed all day. Place two or three pillows under your head when lying down. Elevation reduces bleeding and swelling and it is most beneficial in the first 24 hours after surgery.

7.1 Immediate Postoperative Period

I hope this information has been helpful and informative. This is a generic explanation of the post-operative period and with any medical condition there are always exceptions to the rule. If you feel you are experiencing an abnormal post-operative condition, please call our office.

VI. Sockets: If you have had teeth removed, a blood clot will form in the “socket” (the area from which a tooth has been removed). It is important to keep this clot in place.

V. Nausea: Nausea occasionally develops after general anesthetic or swallowing blood. For nausea and vomiting following surgery, restrict taking food and fluids for two hours and then sip on Coke, tea, or ginger ale.

IV. Activity: Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery. If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Be aware that your normal nourishment intake is reduced. Exercise may weaken you. Raising your pulse or body temperature after surgery may cause more bleeding and discomfort at the surgery site.

III. Pain: For mild to moderate pain, one or two tablets of Tylenol or Extra Strength Tylenol may be taken every three to four hours or Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) two to four 200 mg tablets may be taken every 3-4 hours. Note that Ibuprofen has been found to be better for dental pain than just a narcotic.

II. Bleeding: A slight oozing of blood is expected following surgery. It can be controlled by placing a gauze pad over the surgery site and biting firmly for 30 minutes. Repeat if necessary. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag helps to promote blood clotting. If bleeding still continues, call our office.

I. Swelling: Swelling and discoloration in the region of surgery is a normal post-operative occurrence. It usually peaks in the first 24 hours. Swelling can be minimized by use of ice packs. A plastic bag or thin towel filled with ice or ice cubes can be applied to the cheek(s) on the side of the surgery. It should be left on continuously while awake. After 36 hours, ice has no beneficial effect. If swelling or jaw stiffness has persisted for several days, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal reaction to surgery. Forty-eight hours after surgery, the application of moist heat to the sides of the face is beneficial in reducing the swelling and stiffness.

7.2 Pain Management

Remember, narcotic pain medications such as Vicodin or Percocet often have unpleasant side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and constipation. It is best to take these medications with food to decrease the likelihood of nausea. There is also an anti-emetic medication prescribed with narcotic medications to decrease nausea and vomiting. To prevent constipation, maintain adequate fluid intake and use of a stool softener may be recommended by your surgeon. If you have any allergies to pain medications, inform your surgeon and a substitute medication can often be prescribed. Always let your surgeon know if you experience any side effects from your medication. He or she may adjust your prescription, or prescribe a different medication to better control your pain and reduce side effects. If you begin to experience itching or a rash, stop taking the medication and call your surgeon. Often this is a sign of an allergic reaction.

The goal of pain management after oral surgery is to allow patients to heal optimally while minimizing the side effects and complications associated with many medications. One approach to pain control is to take medication on a fixed schedule for the first couple of days even though the pain is being well controlled. Depending on the procedure and your tolerance to pain, you may initially take the medication every three to four hours, before the pain starts. As your pain begins to decrease, you may spread out the interval between medications, taking them every four to six hours. It is not uncommon for pain medications to be taken at bedtime, as the inflammatory response and associated pain often increases at night. If you have ceased taking medication and begin to experience greater pain you may safely supplement your prescription narcotic with an over the counter medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen. These over the counter medications decrease the inflammatory response and do a better job controlling pain. If you are unable to take the aforementioned medications you may take acetaminophen in their place.

7.3 Dietary Restrictions and Oral Hygiene

Avoid foods with small particles (sesame seeds, poppy seeds) that may become lodged in the surgical areas. Avoid sharp, crunchy foods (tortilla chips, popcorn, peanuts). Do not consume alcoholic beverages. More information may be provided during your postoperative visits. Unrestricted diet may resume in approximately one week, unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon.

Postoperative pain and swelling may be reduced by following the dietary restrictions provided. It is important to drink at least five glasses of liquids each day. Try not to miss meal times. If you are diabetic, maintain your normal eating habits as much as possible and follow instructions by your surgeon or physician regarding your insulin schedule. These dietary allowances have been advised to prevent complications during your healing period.

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