Five Things to Know Before Undergoing Oral Surgery According to Dr. Thomas Ocheltree

According to the latest information published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 4800 surgeons who specialize in the field of oral procedures. When compared to the overall medical field, or even their dentist counterparts, this number represents a remarkably specialized niche. This demand can often limit the time a skilled oral surgeon has available to consult with clients, making it even more important for prospective patients to take the time to review the process and prepare beforehand. Therefore, getting familiar with the right way to approach an oral procedure is definitely going to be beneficial. To that end, what are the five most important things that people should know when it comes to oral surgery?

1. Eating Before the Procedure Is Not Always Advised

Some surgeries require that a patient gets enough food and water beforehand. This tends to take place when the medical endeavor is going to be lengthy and the body will be deprived of nutrition for an extended period of time. Oral surgery, however, belong to the family of medical interventions wherein people would be ill-advised if they were told to eat beforehand.

The reason why boils down to the type of anesthesia that will be used. If the doctor plans to administer a local anesthetic, then one’s body should be able to handle a light meal a few hours before the actual procedure. If, however, they will be given general anesthesia that will put the patient to sleep, there is a risk of aspiration. For those unfamiliar, aspiration is a condition where one’s lungs are unable to get enough air due to the fact that the airways become clogged. During general anesthetics, protective reflexes that prevent aspiration are blunted.  If a patient eats before a surgery where they are given general anesthetic, there is a risk of having the content of their stomach fill up their lungs.

2. Bring a Companion

According to Dr. Thomas Ocheltree, the discussion about the anesthesia does not end here. On the contrary, there is another important factor that must be taken into account. Namely, people should most likely arrive for their surgeries with someone else. This could be a friend or a family member. Dr. Thomas Ocheltree explains that this is due to the fact that the anesthetic will most likely impair someone’s judgment temporarily. So, they may not be able to leave the facility after the surgery is done without being a risk to themselves and others. Just think of all the viral videos that showcase patients’ reactions following the removal of their wisdom tooth where general anesthesia or sedation might have been administered. 

3. Prepare Your Home Before Your Recovery Period Begins

After undergoing oral surgery, it is crucial to get some rest and recover. Failing to do so could prolong the process and one may be in pain for longer than necessary. To make the transition from the medical facility to one’s home smoother, it is crucial to prepare the home for the recovery stage beforehand. This includes getting all the designed rest areas ready and equipping them with pillows that will help keep one’s head in an upright position. 

4. Stock up on Soft Food Beforehand

Similarly, the types of food that can be consumed after the surgery should be purchased prior to the medical intervention. Although one can buy them afterward, most patients tend to not be in the mood for grocery trips after experiencing something as impactful as oral surgery. Additionally, knowing what types of soft food to get can be quite challenging for those who are not used to eating these types of meals on a regular basis. A good starting point to get some nutritional value and calories into one’s system would be to eat warm soup, yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, and maybe scrambled eggs. Of course, as time passes, one can slowly get back to their normal eating habits so long as the wound in their mouth will not be adversely impacted by the content of their diet. 

5. Do Not Panic
Ultimately, Thomas Ocheltree believes that it is crucial to recognize that thousands of people have to get some type of oral surgery every year. In other words, it is a fairly common procedure that most patients recover from within a few days. Therefore, letting stress and panic takeover would not be a smart idea as it is unnecessary. Instead, one should invest their time into getting familiar with the process and learning about the proper preparation. Those include things like questions to ask during the initial consultation, follow-up visits, post-care products, and so on.