General Dentist: What Steps are Involved in the Oral Surgery Process
Many dental problems can be corrected or improved with oral surgery. Surgical procedures can deal with impacted teeth, which are teeth that are unable to push through the gums. The removal of wisdom teeth is another common oral surgery procedure. Surgery may also be employed to help dentures fit better or to insert dental implants. Root canals are another common type of dental surgery. For patients, understanding the steps involved can help them prepare and be less anxious on the day of their surgery appointment.
The oral surgery procedure
Though every procedure is customized to the patient's specific needs, there are some key steps that are typical for dental surgery. Dentists and their staff members educate patients on different surgical treatment options, and together the team develops a treatment plan. Patients should speak up and feel free to ask questions about surgical procedures.
Patient education and preparation
Since not every patient is a good candidate for every procedure, dentists spend time after diagnosis considering different treatment options that are appropriate for the specific patient. Once the dentist and patient agree on a treatment plan, the dentist will inform the patient of preparatory steps necessary to help ensure oral surgery success. Patients may receive written instructions outlining steps to take in the days or weeks leading up to the surgery. Dentists also learn about which medications the patient takes regularly to prevent potential drug interactions during and after the procedure.
The dental procedure and recovery
Throughout the surgery, the staff monitors the patient closely to ensure comfort and safety. When the surgery is complete, the staff will continue to watch over the patient for a time before discharging them to return home. Even after simple surgical procedures, patients may be uncomfortable or tired, which is why many dentists recommend that they have transportation available. Before discharging a patient to go home, the dentist may provide pain medications or prescriptions. The patient will also receive detailed written instructions on post-surgical care and an appointment for follow-up evaluation.
Follow-up appointments after oral surgery
Though the procedure may be over when the patient is discharged to go home, recovery takes varying amounts of time depending on the type of surgery. Dentists will schedule one or more follow-up appointments to check that the teeth and gums are healing as expected. Patients should prioritize follow-up visits, even if they are feeling fine, because dentists can examine surgical results and spot potential problems before they cause discomfort. Many problems dentists identify in follow-up appointments can be addressed quickly, so that healing can take place as expected.
Oral surgery is sometimes necessary to ensure good dental health. Preliminary and follow-up appointments are important to help ensure the success of the procedure. Patients who feel comfortable asking questions and who go into the surgery understanding all the steps involved are better prepared to do their part to ensure success. Dentists who provide oral surgery have techniques, tools and medications to help ensure patients remain safe and comfortable throughout the process, so patients can be confident of enjoying improved dental health afterward.
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