No one truly looks forward to going to the family dentist for fear the visit might result in something relatively painful like a cavity filling or even an extracted tooth or two. Even if you’re conscientious about brushing and flossing after every meal, limiting sweets and dark sodas, and seeing your dentist, such as Napa Family Dental, an ABQ dentist in New Mexico, for twice annual cleanings, you can still find yourself in need of comprehensive dental treatment.
One of these treatments might involve oral surgery. According to a new report, no one in their right mind looks forward to surgery. But there’s one specific variety of surgery that might strike real fear in the hearts and minds of some people, in particular those who suffer from odontophobia, which is defined as the fear of maxillofacial and oral surgery.
Cancer, wisdom-tooth/molar extraction, congenital deformation, or a correction due to an injury, a person who requires this kind of dental surgical procedure will often find themselves uncomfortable about the situation. They are anxious about how to care for their oral health and feel uncertain about the future.
A professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine states that almost all patients are downright scared when they are forced to enter these surgeries.
But oral surgery candidates can take specific steps to prepare themselves for the procedure. That preparation is said to be key in guaranteeing a smooth, complicated free operation. The motto among some surgeons is that the more patients are educated about their oral surgical procedure, the better the situation.
That said, here are a few tips that can help you prepare for maxillofacial and/or oral surgery that will minimize distress, fear, and anxiety.
Be Sure to Ask Questions
You need to talk directly with your dental surgeon. He or she is the best source of information that's reliable. Some doctors request that you don’t Google your oral problem and/or YouTube it. Much of the information you will find online will be misleading and cause you further stress.
Only your doctor is aware of your specific procedure, the preparation that leads up to it, and the post-operative course that must be taken. The internet, while chuck full of information, will serve only to scare you.
Consult with People Who Have Undergone the Same Procedure(s)
There's nothing quite like speaking to others who have experienced the same oral surgery you will be undergoing. They will ease your mind by giving you useful information on how a procedure will go along with the post-operative steps you will take to heal properly.
For instance, because orthognathic (jaw reconstruction) surgery is so extensive, there will be a relatively long post-operative course of action. Some doctors will actually ask former patients to speak directly to prospective patients about their experiences.
This direct communication provides “reassurance from a real person” who has undergone the same operation with the same surgeon.
Purchase Supplies and Food You’ll Need During the Recovery Phase
In almost all cases, oral surgery patients are anxious about what they will be able to eat and drink during their recovery phase. To the dental experts, patients almost always ask about what they can. They cannot eat post-surgery. Soft foods will be necessary for a period during the immediate recovery phase.
It's helpful for patients to know that the food items they will require (and enjoy) will be waiting for them when they return home from the surgical procedure.
Schedule Logistical Arrangements for the Surgery
Just like any other surgery, you need to consider a number of important items when it comes to your maxillofacial and oral post-surgery treatment. For example, patients undergoing general sedation cannot eat or drink anything for six to eight hours before the surgery. You also cannot drive for 24 hours after the surgery.
Should you be a parent of a young child or children, or if you’re the caretaker of an elderly parent, you need to make sure they are taken care of while you are recovering. Dental surgeons stress that you will not heal properly if you are taking care of others when you are the one who needs to be taken care of.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other family members or friends. Your surgeon will require that you have someone available to drive and/or accompany you home after the operation. You must prepare for this ahead of time.
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