When is a procedure considered oral surgery?

Most patients associate oral surgery with procedures that involve cutting into the gums, drilling into the bone, and other similar procedures. However, even simpler procedures like cutting on teeth and doing fillings are technically considered oral surgery. In the realm of what oral maxillofacial surgeons do, it usually involves more in-depth procedures that are more invasive to a patient.

What are the common types of oral surgery and why might they be necessary?

Common types of oral surgery include apicoectomies, bone grafting, corrective jaw surgery, dental implants, facial trauma, TMJ corrections, tooth extractions, sleep apnea, oral pathology, and wisdom tooth removal.

What is maxillofacial surgery?

Maxillofacial surgery involves more involved surgical procedures including cutting gums, drilling on bone, and more. A maxillofacial surgeon handles bigger surgeries like big jaw corrective surgeries. They frequently handle wisdom teeth and implants, but they're qualified to do things that most general dentists don't want to tackle.

What happens during oral surgery?

The procedures during oral surgery vary based on the specific operation. However, patients are made comfortable and the procedure is performed usually under local anesthetic. For example, when a tooth is taken out, the site where the tooth came out from is prepped and there's a bit of bone drilling. The implant is placed and often we bone graft at the same time. The area is then sewn closed with sutures.

Can my regular dentist perform oral surgery?

Yes, a regular dentist can perform oral surgery, depending on the extent they feel comfortable with and the training they've received. Basic oral surgery training is provided in dental school. However, if a general dentist enjoys the surgical side of things, they often undergo extra training after dental school. This can be through a residency, specialty, or even just extra specialized courses.

How should I prepare for oral surgery?

There are several ways to prepare for oral surgery. Prior to the operation, it's a good idea to do some kind of oral mouth rinse, whether it be just warm salt water or Listerine or a prescription mouth rinse. Sometimes we'll have a patient do a prescription mouth rinse before surgical procedures to help lower bacteria count in the mouth.

What anesthesia options will be available to me during oral surgery?

There are several anesthesia options available during oral surgery. These include ibuprofen or Tylenol, Valium or Halcyon to help relax the patient, IV sedation and anesthesia, and local anesthesia which numbs the site. We also offer a bit of topical anesthesia where you put in some gel prior to the injection, and nitrous oxide or laughing gas to help relax you during the procedure.

Can I drive myself home after oral surgery?

Your ability to drive home after oral surgery depends on the type of sedation used. If you have any sort of sedation, like IV sedation or pill sedation, you should not operate a motor vehicle afterwards. The only exception is laughing gas as it leaves the system very quickly. If it is just local anesthesia and you're awake for it, you can definitely drive yourself home after an oral surgery procedure.

How can I minimize pain and discomfort after oral surgery?

There are several methods to minimize pain and discomfort after oral surgery. These include using ice and heat packs, taking Ibuprofen and/or Tylenol, and using prescription pain medication. We can also do an injection right before the appointment is over to get the patient a little bit further down the road before they wake up. Controlling what you eat and opting for softer foods can also help with post-operative discomfort.

How long does it take to recover from oral surgery?

The recovery time from oral surgery depends on the specific type of surgery. For example, wisdom teeth removal can vary in recovery time depending on the complexity of the procedure. Simple procedures like implants or root canals usually have a shorter recovery time. Some patients even return to work the same day after having an implant placed.

Does insurance typically cover the costs of oral surgery?

In most situations, insurance does cover the costs of oral surgery. However, this heavily depends on your specific insurance plan. Most dental insurances help with surgical procedures, but the patient may have to cover some of the costs depending on their insurance coverage.

If insurance will not fully cover the cost of my oral surgery, is financial assistance available?

Yes, financial assistance is available if insurance does not fully cover the cost of the surgery. We offer financing options and payment plans here at our office. There are also sometimes community programs that can provide extra assistance.

How can I schedule an appointment to discuss oral surgery?

To schedule an appointment, you can call us at Integrity Dental at (719) 745-5565. We also offer an email option for setting up an appointment. We can either set up a full exam where we take x-rays and such to discuss surgery or we can do a consultation if you're wondering about implants where we don't do x-rays but just discuss the procedure.