Oral medicine is a vast science concerned with various oral diseases. With science and medicine growing every day, new specialties emerged to accurately deal with every disease with the best treatment plan.
Subspecialties give the doctors the required expertise to deal with this kind of problem and cover all its possible aspects to give the patient the best experience possible when managing his/her dental problem.
What Is Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery is a recognized subspecialty of oral medicine it is concerned with surgical solutions for different oral diseases, injuries, defects of the head, neck, face, mouth, jaw, and teeth.
What are the ultimate goals of oral surgery?
Any medical specialty always shares the same common goal, keeping you healthy, avoiding diseases and preventing complications.
As for oral surgery, it is not different, its goals are:
- Keeping your mouth healthy.
- Protect your teeth and surrounding tissue from the potential or actual damage.
- Managing injuries of your jaw or maxillofacial tissues.
What treatment modalities does oral surgery offer?
Oral surgeons usually use a scalpel alongside other certain tools and instruments to perform their surgeries. Here is a list of procedures that could be performed by oral surgeons:
- Tooth extractions
- Dental implants, bridges, and fillings.
- Bone grafting for implants
- Root canals
- Periodontal treatment
- Impacted wisdom tooth
- Taking Biopsies
- Reconstructive surgery.
- Sublingual gland removal.
- Submandibular gland removal.
- Laser-assisted procedures.
- Cosmetic dental procedures
- Mandibular/ maxillary reconstruction.
- Oral cancer screening and treatment.
- TMJ disorders.
- Orthodontic treatment.
- Cleft lip and palate repair team.
- Snoring and sleep apnea.
Does oral surgery require special preparations?
Like any other surgery, oral surgery demands certain preparations pre-operatively. This includes:
- Your doctor will outline the whole treatment plan first.
- Your doctor will advise you with the best anesthetic option.
- It is better not to eat for at least 6 hours before the surgery.
- If you suffer from any chronic disease you must inform your oral surgeon. For example, if you are a diabetic then your dentist and endocrinologist must cooperate together to control our blood sugar levels before surgery. If you are on blood thinners like aspirin or heparin, then your hematologist must adjust your dosage to prevent bleeding.
- Preoperative antibiotics: The AHA recommends the administration of antibiotics preoperatively to patients at risk of bacteremia. Those patients include patients with prosthetic heart valves, patients with a previous history of endocarditis and also patients who had a heart transplant.
What Postoperative care does oral surgery require?
Although surgeries and their steps differ from each other, most of the surgeries share common postoperative care instructions that include:
- Rest, rest, rest:
Although, oral surgeries may not be considered serious surgery but it requires the same resting time like any surgery. The bed rest could last from as short as one day to over 2 weeks. Use extra pillows to sleep upright.
- Avoid strenuous activity;
Don’t lift heavy stuff, or engage in aggressive sports.
- Don’t brush your teeth:
Yes, this is the only condition where your doctor will advise you not to brush your teeth, as your mouth and teeth are still too sensitive for harsh brushing. You can use mouthwashes instead only if cleared by your dentist. As it may dislodge the blood clot (in tooth extraction surgery as an example).
- Use ice packs:
To reduce the postsurgical edema and bruises of the procedure, it is best to use ice packs on your cheek and the impacted area. If you had surgery on both sides of your mouth then its best to alternate between cheeks to avoid freeze burns.
- Notice the complications:
If you have severe pain, fever, or notice pus you have to contact your doctor immediately.
- Avoid bleeding:
Mild bleeding in the first few hours after surgery is not uncommon, so gently bite on sterile gauze to slow it down. If it lasts more than one day then visit your doctor as soon as possible.
- Don’t smoke:
Quitting smoking for a few days before and after surgery helps in healing. Quitting smoking forever is the smartest move.
- Avoid hard and sticky food:
It is best to chew on soft food like yogurts, soup, oatmeal, and ice cream and avoid hard, too hot, too cold, spicy and chewy food.
- Take pain killers:
If your doctor clears you for pain killers then take them following his instructions.
- Watch for warning signs:
Like fever, unresolved swelling, troubled breathing or an emerging allergy.
- Follow up appointments:
Never miss a follow-up appointment to avoid any possible complications.
Oral surgery is an important specialty of oral medicine. It deals with serious diseases and disorders. You can only be referred to an oral surgeon and at Magrabi centers and hospitals we have pride in having a state-of-the-art oral surgery unit with the latest technology in diagnosis and management of oral and maxillofacial disorders.