Oral surgery is a surgical specialty that involves the diagnosis, treatment and reconstruction of oral and maxillofacial (jaw and face) problems. Oral surgeons perform a wide variety of surgical procedures that restore function, improve facial aesthetics and relieve painful symptoms.
They may perform surgical treatment for issues that interfere with breathing, sleeping or chewing. They also work with cancers and other diseases that affect the mouth, neck and head. They may remove lesions or cleft lips or palates, repair nerve damage and treat facial infections.
Surgeons are experts in their field, and they keep up with the latest medical techniques and practices to offer the best care possible for patients. To ensure you get the best care, look for a board-certified oral surgeon who prioritizes continued education and training.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons receive an additional four years of training after dental school, often in a hospital-based residency program alongside medical residents. They undergo intense training in a variety of specialties, including anesthesia and surgery.
In addition to performing surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgeons are highly trained in dentistry and can help you improve your smile with restorative treatments such as teeth whitening, crowns, bridges, dentures or dental implants. They can also remove impacted wisdom teeth and treat jaw disorders, such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, which cause pain, headaches and clicking sounds in the lower jaw.
Your surgeon will help you understand your surgical options so you can make the best decision for your needs. They will answer your questions and explain the procedure as well as the risks, complications and benefits. They may provide a list of local anesthesia choices or discuss IV sedation, which can help you feel more comfortable during your procedure.
Recovery from oral surgery is usually a few days to a few weeks. For most people, this will be enough time to resume regular activities and return to school or work. For more extensive surgeries, like corrective jaw surgery, healing times can take longer.
During this time, you may experience temporary soreness and swelling of the tissues in your mouth. Depending on the type of surgery, you may need to wear an ice pack for a few hours each day until the soreness goes away. You should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol after your surgery, as these can slow your healing process.
Oral surgery is an important part of your overall health, and the right surgeon can help you restore your quality of life and comfort. It can also help you achieve the beautiful, healthy smile you deserve.
Before scheduling your oral surgery appointment, ask your dentist if you have any questions about the procedure. They will be able to answer your questions and discuss your insurance plan options with you.
You can also learn about what to expect during and after your oral surgery by talking with your surgeon and hygienist. They will explain what to expect during the process and help you plan your recovery. They can also recommend medications that will help you be more comfortable, such as nitrous oxide or sedation.