Health

Preparing for Dental Oral Surgery: Tips for Patients

No one visits the dentist hoping to hear they need surgery, so it’s normal to feel some apprehension and worry when you get the news. Phrases like “tooth extraction”, “dental implant”, and “bone grafting” can be intimidating for anyone. 

However, oral surgery can feel simpler when you know what to expect beforehand. Good preparation can help speed up recovery and ensure a successful outcome.

Follow these quick and easy steps to prepare for your dental oral surgery to feel more confident and comfortable before, during, and after your procedure.

Understand Your Dental Oral Surgery

Your doctor will do their best to lay out all the information you need but there’s a good chance you’ll have questions they didn’t think about. Your pre-surgery consultation is the time to ask any and all questions about what the procedure entails, how long it takes, and what to expect during recovery.

Some important questions to answer include:

  • What, exactly, does the procedure entail?
  • Will it require local or general anesthesia?
  • What medications or supplements, if any, will you need to take before the surgery?
  • What are the risks or possible complications?
  • How long should you expect recovery to take?

The doctor wants you to feel comfortable and secure, so there’s no such thing as a silly question during your consultation. 

Discuss Dental Insurance and Financing Options

Talking about finances is never fun, especially when insurance is involved. However, this is something you’ll want to settle before the day of your dental oral surgery. Knowing how much you will owe ahead of time will relieve a source of unnecessary stress and make your recovery a bit easier.

Your doctor’s office staff should have the expertise and experience to guide you through your final bill and discuss coverages for your specific plan as well as various payment and financing options.

Get a Ride Home

Most dental operations are outpatient procedures, so expect to be sent home the same day. You likely won’t be able to drive yourself due to the effects of anesthesia, so you should arrange transportation home the day before your surgery. 

The last thing you want is to be stuck in the doctor’s office, waiting for a taxi or car service to show up. Or worse – have there be no taxis available.

Stock Up on Recovery-Friendly Foods

Fill your fridge with healthy foods that don’t require much biting or chewing. Oatmeal, soup, applesauce, protein shakes, and yogurt are good options. Avoid spicy, acidic, and crunchy foods for several days as these foods can irritate your surgical wounds.

Your doctor should give you a list of good recovery food recommendations during your pre-surgery consultation.

Prepare Your Home

This goes hand-in-hand with stocking the fridge – make sure your house is clean and tidy before your surgery. No need to deep clean; a quick pass with a vacuum, mop, and duster should do the trick. You won’t have much energy for housework or dealing with clutter post-procedure, so take care of it now.

Use the day before the surgery to prepare your physical recovery space. Set up pillows in your bed so you can sleep with your head elevated. Place any recommended medications within arm’s reach of your bedside.

Fast as Directed by Your Doctor

Based on your specific procedure you will likely have to fast for several hours before your appointment. If you’ll be undergoing general anesthesia (full sleep), fasting is especially important to reduce the risk of complications such as aspiration during the surgery.

In general, stop eating and drinking six to eight hours before the scheduled appointment. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any pre-surgery medications or supplements. Avoid any alcohol and tobacco for at least 24 hours before your operation.

Brush and Floss the Morning of Your Surgery

You likely do it every day but, it’s extra important to brush and floss your teeth before any dental procedure. Clean teeth reduce the risk of infection and other surgical complications. 

Even though you won’t have eaten or drank anything in the preceding eight hours, you should still brush off any lingering germs on the teeth and gums.

Arrive at the Office Early

Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment. The extra time will allow you to settle in, finish any paperwork, and ask any last-minute questions. If you don’t have any forms or questions, take this time to sit back and relax.

With all this prep work out of the way, your recovery experience will be simple, smooth, and as easy as possible. All you need to do now is sit back with your feet up and enjoy some ice cream and homemade smoothies for a few days. 

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