What is oral surgery?
Oral surgeries are surgical procedures performed in the head, neck, face, jaws as well as the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. Just because you have been referred for oral surgery does not necessarily mean that you have a difficult-to-treat condition — it simply means that an oral surgeon is a specialist with the training and skill to treat your specific condition for the very best results. Oral surgery procedures include simple and complex teeth extractions (including wisdom teeth), dental implant placement, repair of facial and jaw bone fractures, treatment of cysts and tumors of the jaws, soft tissue biopsies, jaw realignment surgery (also called orthognathic surgery) to correct the bite, surgical treatment of TMJ, and various types of cosmetic procedures. If you’re wondering if there is a difference between oral surgery and oral and maxillofacial surgery, you wouldn’t be the first. To clarify, there is no difference — oral simply refers to your mouth, while maxillofacial refers to your entire jaw and face. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained to diagnose and perform surgery to treat injuries or problems in the maxillofacial areas, including the mouth!
Patients who have received treatment in our Pocatello and Blackfoot practice locations have shared their personal experiences with oral surgery to help you feel at ease about your own procedures.
Why choose an oral surgeon?
Just the mention of oral surgery can give patients a sense of dread — but don’t worry, oral surgeons are uniquely qualified to treat you in the least invasive way possible with your absolute comfort in mind. All oral surgeons earn a four-year graduate degree in dentistry and then go on to complete a hospital-based oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program for four or more years where they are trained in emergency medicine, general surgery, and anesthesiology. So, while all oral surgeons are dentists, not all dentists are oral surgeons. Oral surgeons are the only healthcare specialists other than anesthesiologists who can administer all levels of sedation, including general anesthesia. At our southeast Idaho practice, we are extremely sensitive to our patients needs and offer sedation dentistry medications for patients who may be experiencing anxiety about receiving oral surgery.
Get to know the oral surgeons of Oral Surgery Specialists of Idaho, Drs. Baker and Jepsen.
When do you need oral surgery?
A certified and experienced oral surgeon is the most qualified provider to place dental implants and provide other types of tooth replacements such as implant-supported dentures and bridges. In addition, your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for the following reasons:
- Facial pain or TMJ
- Wisdom teeth impaction
- A jaw that is misaligned
- Reconstructive surgery following an injury
- Cleft lip and palate treatment
- Cancer or other pathology in the mouth, face, jaw, or neck
- Surgery to prepare for the proper fit of a denture
No matter what type of oral surgery you require, you are in the very best hands at Oral Surgery Specialists of Idaho. Drs. Baker and Jepsen stay up to date on the latest methods and surgical techniques and bring to southeast Idaho a vast knowledge of the technology and procedures that can dramatically increase your quality of life. Drs. Baker and Jepsen perform the full scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, including cosmetic procedures, with your comfort, overall health, and well-being in mind. Our team is available to answer your questions and address your concerns to help make your oral surgery experience positive every step of the way, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Preparing for Oral Surgery
The staff and doctors of Oral Surgery Specialists of Idaho are here to guide you before, during, and after your oral surgery, but you are also a very important part of your care team! For a smoother recovery, we recommend that our patients take the time to prepare for the period following their procedure. We will provide you with all the information and instructions you will need to review carefully before you undergo oral surgery at our practice, but here is an overview of some of the things to keep in mind.
The first step is a consultation with your oral surgeon. During this first office visit, you will collaborate with your doctor on a treatment plan that best addresses your individual condition. You will learn what to expect before, during, and after your procedure and will be advised on which medications to avoid in the weeks before the operation. You may also have diagnostic images taken during this appointment. Your consultation is a great time to ask your doctor any questions you may have about your treatment — we recommend you jot down your questions before the consultation, so we can be sure to address them all.
We provide oral surgery services in the comfort of our welcoming Pocatello and Blackfoot practice locations, which means that you will be receiving outpatient surgery and will be discharged soon after your procedure. You will likely be under the effects of anesthesia, so it is imperative that you arrange transportation to and from our practice. If possible, you should have someone with you at home for at least 24 hours after your surgery to ensure you are able to rest and to assist you should there be any complications.
Your doctor may prescribe pain control or other medications for you to take during your recovery. You will want these medications to be ready for you at home after your surgery so that you do not have to worry about picking them up postoperatively.
Preparing Your Home for Your Recovery
It’s a good idea to make sure your home is prepared for a smooth recovery period in advance of your surgery. This includes the basics such as making sure your bed linens are clean but expendable as they may become stained. Consider setting up plenty of pillows to make sure your head is supported upright to help keep swelling down. Place some pleasant reading materials within reach and be sure your phone and phone charger are nearby in case you need any assistance. Stock the fridge with the soft foods and liquids you will enjoy comfortably post-surgery and be sure to have ice packs in the freezer.
What to Expect During Recovery
Most of our patients report comfortable recoveries free of complications. All oral surgeries involve a certain amount of discomfort, but the pain and swelling should ease after about two to three days. If your pain feels unmanageable despite your prescription or over-the-counter medications, or if you’re bleeding more than is expected, please call us so that we can take care of you. Your recovery time will vary depending on the type of procedure you are receiving, but if you follow your pre- and post-surgical instructions carefully, you will quickly be back to your regular routine and activities.