Oral surgery includes all surgical procedures performed on a patient’s teeth, gums, or jaw. While these are the three primary areas for oral surgery, it can also include surgeries on other oral structures like the hard and soft palate and the tongue.
In this blog on oral surgery, we’ll look at the following:
- What Are The Types Of Oral Surgery?
- Who Needs Oral Surgery?
- Is Oral Surgery Painful?
- What Are The Benefits of Oral Surgery?
- What Is Surgically Facilitated Orthodontic Therapy (SFOT)?
- Dos and Don’ts After Oral Surgery
- Oral Surgery FAQ
What Are The Types Of Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery includes various procedures, such as tooth extractions and dental implants, gum and bone grafting, periodontal surgery, sleep apnea surgery, corrective jaw surgery, and cleft lip and palate repair.
Tooth Extractions and Implants
Tooth extractions and implants work to remove and restore teeth that have been compromised, whether due to infection or trauma.
Gum and Bone Grafts
Gum and bone grafts add volume back to areas of the jaw experiencing gum or bone loss, which can significantly impact your ability to chew and speak.
Periodontal surgery may be necessary in moderate to severe periodontitis, also known as gum disease. The surgery requires a deep cleaning of the infected area and repositioning and suturing the tissue.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
If a patient has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), this can cause tissue to block the airway during sleep. While conservative methods can help, severe cases require surgical intervention to fix the problem.
Corrective Jaw Surgery
Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, works to repair skeletal abnormalities in the jaw bones. The surgery helps with improving chewing, fixing misalignment of the facial structure, and easing pain caused by TMJ dysfunction.
Cleft Lip and Palate Repair
Cleft lip and palate are conditions present at birth. They can significantly affect a patient’s ability to eat and speak properly. Surgery can help to improve the physical appearance and functions of the mouth.
Who Needs Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery is designed to improve the function and appearance of a patient’s mouth, jaw, teeth, and other oral structures. If you are experiencing any oral problems due to a health condition like periodontitis or sleep apnea, you may be a candidate for oral surgery. Speak with your dentist about your concerns to further begin the process of a proper evaluation and treatment.
Is Oral Surgery Painful?
Pain from oral surgery typically occurs post-procedure. You may experience some soreness, bleeding, and swelling as a result of the surgical trauma. However, you shouldn’t feel pain during oral surgery. This is because your doctor will administer anesthesia before beginning the procedure to numb your mouth. At the most, you may feel some pressure during the surgery.
What Are The Benefits of Oral Surgery?
Oral surgery can benefit any patient experiencing oral dysfunction due to a health condition. Problems with chewing, speaking, and facial structure can be addressed through different forms of oral surgery, depending on the underlying condition causing them. Likewise, oral surgery can reduce pain from conditions like TMJ disorder or sleep apnea.
What Is Surgically Facilitated Orthodontic Therapy (SFOT)?
SFOT is an oral surgery that strategically modifies the jaw bones to promote tooth movement. It’s done at the beginning of orthodontic treatment for patients getting braces, aligners, and removable retainers. The surgery prepares the jaw and teeth for treatment by encouraging faster movement into proper alignment.
Post-Op Instructions for SFOT
Following Surgically Facilitated Orthodontic Therapy, your doctor will provide you with instructions for after-care. You may experience some discomfort in the first few days following the surgery, which can be helped with prescribed pain medication. Swelling is common and peaks around two to three days post-op, which can be treated with an ice pack. Likewise, you’ll be given instructions on what to avoid following SFOT.
Dos and Don’ts After Oral Surgery
- Do eat soft foods during the first 24 hours to two weeks following surgery.
- Do rinse your mouth with salt water if directed by your doctor
- Do avoid the gum tissue while brushing your teeth.
- Do have a designated driver to drive you home after the procedure.
- Don’t participate in physical activity for the first 24 hours; keeping your jaw safe and secure as it heals is important.
- Similarly, don’t sleep flat. Instead, prop your head with a couple of pillows to help with swelling and bleeding.
- Don’t drink anything other than clear liquids during the 24 hours.
- Don’t use straws
- Don’t smoke
- Don’t floss until your doctor gives you the go-ahead.
Oral Surgery FAQs
Oral surgery is as serious as any other type of surgery. It’s considered a major surgery and comes with its own risks. Before the oral surgery, your doctor will inform you of the procedure’s risks, what to expect post-op, and what aftercare will look like.
It depends on the oral surgery, but most of the time, your dentist will apply local anesthesia, which numbs the area. In this case, you’ll be awake during the procedure but not feel anything. In more extensive surgeries, general anesthesia may be used, which will render you unconscious for the entire process.
Dentists will typically refer patients to oral surgeons for procedures beyond their scope of expertise. Dental surgery focuses on maintaining teeth, including wisdom teeth removal, crowns, and root canals. Oral procedures include a broader group of surgeries that address more than just the teeth, such as facial surgery for jaw realignment and soft tissue repair.
It’s best to wait at least an hour to eat after oral surgery. You’ll also need to stick to soft foods for a span of time after your procedure. Depending on the type of oral surgery, you may be required to eat only soft foods for up to 24 hours to 2 weeks post-op.