Even though your oral surgeon will likely provide all of the helpful answers and guidance prior to your actual surgery, it’s helpful to have a list of questions ahead of time. This will ensure that you have a complete and thorough understanding of what is about to happen. Make sure you take the time now to cover anything you’re uncertain about, ranging from pre-surgery food intake to your recovery. Here are some of the best questions to ask your oral surgeon prior to your scheduled surgery.
The idea here isn’t to interrogate your surgeon ahead of time, but to glean some valuable insights by asking him or her about similar surgeries, the outcomes, and anything that can help you more fully understand the entire process. Experience should be an important consideration for your surgery. While you wouldn’t necessarily discount the skills of a newer surgeon, the added experience of a seasoned oral surgeon simply reduces the overall level of risk.
Although your surgeon won’t necessarily go into every minute detail of your procedure, it is important that you have a basic step-by-step of what will occur. You can ask about how quickly the anesthesia will work, where the surgeon will cut or stitch, what the total operation timeframe looks like, and anything else that you feel will help to clarify the situation. Remember, you have a right to know exactly what is happening with your body when you are undergoing a surgical procedure. You can provide this plan to the person accompanying you to surgery so they’ll know what to expect, too.
This question is a must-ask prior to surgery, as it will largely dictate your comfort level both during the surgery and after. Surgeons should discuss the various levels of anesthesia that are available and appropriate for your surgery, including local anesthesia. Local is generally given as either an injection at the immediate surgical site or as a topical numbing agent. Conscious sedation refers to a strong anti-anxiety pill taken orally that makes you feel drowsy rather quickly. You’ll definitely need someone to drive you to and from the office if you’re opting for conscious sedation. IV sedation and general anesthesia are other options that can be delivered either orally or via gas mask.
Ask your surgeon for a worst-case scenario for your recovery. This will let you plan for time off from work or school, as well as arrange other schedule changes like childcare. Most oral surgeries are outpatient procedures, and the timeframe in which you can return to most normal activities is quite short. That said, more invasive surgeries may require additional time for recuperation. Give yourself as much time as necessary to ensure a full and healthy recovery. Also, be sure to ask your dental professional about any restrictions on normal physical activities post-surgery.
Depending on your specific oral surgery procedure, your surgeon will likely advise you to begin taking certain medications a few days prior to your surgery. You will be prescribed painkillers, antibiotics, or other prescription drugs to take post-surgery. Your dentist will create the prescriptions ahead of time to allow you enough time to get them filled prior to the surgery. This way you don’t have to worry about filling them after the surgery when you’re going to want to focus on the recovery phase.
This is not just a common question but also a smart one to ask. While most oral surgery procedures are fairly low risk, there is always going to be some element of danger when going “under the knife.” Complications can occur during surgery due to anesthesia or excessive bleeding. Issues can also arise post-surgery for a variety of reasons. That said, the risks related to oral surgery are extremely low – especially if you are in generally good health to begin with.
While it would be nice to think that medically-necessary procedures should be performed with no concern for the overall cost, that simply isn’t a reality in our modern world. Patients must be aware of the initial and ongoing costs related to the surgery prior to committing to the dental procedure. You can work with your dental office to see just how much your insurance covers. Then, you may be able to work out a payment plan with the dental office or simply pay them in full for the service rendered. Keep in mind, seeking the absolute lowest cost option may not be optimal decision for your oral health, but you still have to keep the costs in consideration.
Though you’ll likely be able to schedule the surgery several weeks in advance, ask about the surgeon’s availability. Not only do you want to know when you can get on the calendar with the dental office, but knowing when and where your surgeon works throughout the months is crucial. This can help when it comes time to schedule follow-ups or even in the event of a post-surgery emergency.
Now that you’ve considered some of the most important questions to ask your surgeon, take the time to think of additional questions that can help you to make an informed decision as to your own dental health and well-being.
Your surgeon will be happy to talk to you about your options and all of the variables associated with the surgery. For more information about oral surgery options in Meadowbrook, Doylestown, and Langhorne, and NE Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, contact the professional dental office of Drs. Michael D. Sock, DMD, MD, FACS, Austin P. Daly MD, DDS, Michael T. Dachowski, DMD, or Colleen M. Holewa, DMD, at (215) 938-7860.