Oral surgery is the area of medicine concerned with correcting problems or damage to the mouth, teeth and jaw. Oral surgery is commonly performed to remove wisdom teeth, prepare the mouth for dentures, repair jaw problems and perform root canals.
1. Wisdom Tooth Surgery
Wisdom teeth are extracted because they either have already become impacted, or they could possibly cause certain problems if not extracted.
Potential problems include:
• Infections caused by bits of food trapped in the jaw area behind the wisdom teeth where conventional brushing and flossing is difficult and ineffective
• Misalignment which rubs up against the tongue or cheek causing pain
• Potential crowding or maloclussion of teeth
2. Periodontics Surgery
Periodontal surgery is any operation performed to treat disease or repair abnormalities in the specialized tissues that both surround and support the teeth. Theses tissues are referred to as periodontium and include your alveolar bone, cementum, gums and periodontal ligament.
3. Cosmetic Oral Surgery
Cosmetic oral surgery refers to techniques employed for the “enhancement” of the appearance of the oral and maxillofacial region through surgical and medical means, and is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it beyond the average level toward some aesthetic ideal.
Recovery After Oral Surgery
• Bleeding after wisdom tooth surgery is normal and slight bleeding may be experienced for up to one day after surgery. Use the gauze that was provided to you, and bite down with firm pressure for sixty minutes. You should remove the gauze gently. It may be necessary to sip a little water to wet the gauze if it feels stuck to the tissue. Sipping water will also prevent the bleeding from happening again. If your bleeding persists, consult your dentist or surgeon. They may advise you to bite on a moist black tea bag. The tannic acid in the tea has been shown to reduce bleeding and assist with clotting.
• Swelling is a common complaint after oral surgeries. Keep your head elevated with pillows. You may place an ice pack on the outside of your face for the first day after oral surgery. Swelling is usually completely gone within 7 to 10 days after oral surgery. Stiffness in the muscles of the face is also common and may be felt for up to 10 days after oral surgery. You may notice slight bruising, usually if the surgery involved your lower wisdom teeth. If you have any concerns about swelling, or swelling persists after 7 to 10 days, consult your doctor.
• Pain after oral surgery varies depending on the extent of the procedure. Your dentist or surgeon will prescribe any necessary pain relief medication. Follow the instructions for your medication carefully and always check with your dentist or surgeon before taking any over-the-counter medications with your prescriptions. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic, always take all of the medication prescribed to you to prevent infection.
• Rest for at least 48 hours after oral surgery. Physical activity ought to be avoided for 2 to 3 days after your surgery. Typically, you should be able to resume normal daily activities within two days after surgery.
• Vigorous rinsing and spitting should be avoided for 24 hours. Brush gently and floss if you are able to open your mouth wide enough. Lightly rinse your mouth with water and not mouthwash. Let the water fall out of your mouth on its own. After 24 hours, you may begin rinsing with a saline or salt water solution. This will naturally help keep the surgical site clean, aiding in the recovery process. Prepare your saline solution by placing one tablespoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Do not swallow the saline solution. Repeat this as needed throughout the day. If you have had an extraction, do not try to remove anything from the tooth socket (hole). Rinsing gently will dislodge any bits of food from the site.
• Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. Smoking prolongs the healing time, and may cause an extremely painful infection known as a dry socket. Dry sockets have to be treated by your dentist. Even the use of smokeless or chewing tobacco should be avoided until the surgical area is completely healed. If you have had an extraction, the pieces of tobacco may enter the extraction site, causing pain and discomfort in the socket.