Oral surgery (or maxillofacial surgery) is a procedure that can correct a large array of diseases, injuries or defects in the jaws, face and neck. It can also fix problems in the soft and hard tissues of the oral/maxillofacial region.
It can treat a number of conditions such as:
Tooth loss – dental implants are a great solution for tooth loss and is an excellent alternative to dentures. The implants basically work as tooth root substitutes that are surgically fastened to the jawbone and serve as a base for artificial teeth. For this procedure, patients must have an adequate bone structure for the implants to work.
Unequal jaw growth – in some cases, the lower and upper jaw fail to grow properly; this can lead to difficulties in eating, swallowing, speaking and breathing. Even though most of these issues can be treated with braces or orthodontic appliances, the more serious issues may require oral surgery to shift the upper or lower jaw (or both) into a more functional, balances and healthy position.
Poor fitting dentures – for people who are getting dentures made for the first time, oral surgery can deal with any irregularities of the jaw preceding the manufacturing of the dentures to ensure an ideal fit. Surgery can also help patients that have worn their dentures for a long time since the supporting bone of the jaw can deteriorate.
Facial injury repair – Oral surgery can also be used to treat broken facial bones or fractured jaws.
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If you are in good health and suffer from any of the problems described above, you are a good candidate for this procedure. Your oral surgeon will always inform you about all the different details before the treatment; for example, you should know if you should stop taking certain medications or if you will need to refrain from smoking, drinking or eating for a certain time period before your dental surgery.
The use of local anesthesia is usually protocol for this type of procedure; this means you will be awake while your dental surgeon performs the operation. However, in some cases, general anesthesia can also be applied. The time it takes to perform the necessary treatment will vary on the problem being addressed.
Feel free to discuss with your HCR cosmetic dentist concerning the details of the dental surgery you will be going through and do not hesitate to bring up any questions you might have about the whole process.
Generally, you will also be given a mouthwash to take home. The swelling and pain will be at their peak during the first 2 to 3 days but after that, they will slowly begin to dissipate. You must not rinse your mouth vigorously for at least 24 hours after the surgery since this can affect the healing process.
Depending on the type of stitches that your surgeon uses, they may need to be removed. If they are dissolvable, they will disappear within 7 to 10 days.
You will have to start by eating soft foods and return to your normal diet gradually. Spicy foods or really hot drinks can increase the pain and lead to bleeding, therefore, you should avoid them until your gums have healed properly. Smoking and drinking alcohol should also be avoided. If you experience any bleeding, you can bite down on a piece of gauze or handkerchief for 10 to 20 minutes. Afterwards, you should rinse your mouth carefully and lie down.
When it comes to oral surgery, complication can occur but they are rare occurrences, especially if you have been treated by an experienced surgeon. Some of the risks related to this procedure include excessive bleeding during or soon after the operation, infection, and an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic. Complications may require further treatment such as having another operation to stop bleeding, or antibiotics to treat an infection.
In rare occasions, nerves in the jaw can be damaged, either by the surgery or by swelling afterwards. This can lead to temporary numbness or “pins and needles” in the lower lip or tongue after the procedure. In a small number of cases this altered sensation is permanent.
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