Oral Surgeon vs General Dentistry

Overall health includes caring for your oral health. Regular visits to your dentist enables easy maintenance and preventative care. When you find that you are having a problem with something concerning your mouth or even your face or jaw, your first stop should be at your dentist’s office. Your general dentist will discuss your concerns with you and examine the area.

If they find that the best treatment option for you would be to see an Oral Surgeon, your dentist will refer you to the Oral Surgeon they work with most.

What do general dentists do?

Most of the regular care you receive for your teeth will be at your general dentist. They will usually be your first call when you find yourself with an issue needing attention. Typical treatment your dentist will cover are:

  • Hygiene appointments, including x-rays and exams
  • Restorative procedures such as fillings, crowns, bridges and dentures
  • Placement of implant crowns on dental implants

Your dentist will refer you to any specialist they may deem appropriate, including Oral Surgeons, Periodontists and Endodontists (root canal specialist).

Do you need a dentist or an oral surgeon?

Oral Surgeons have completed an additional four to eight years of education after dental school. Some procedures that you may believe can be handled by your dentist will actually require an oral surgeon. Your dentist will let you know and if you do need a surgeon, they will send you to the one they work with the most, ensuring that you are comfortable with their choice and that the surgeon’s office is in a convenient location for you. Ailments that may require an Oral Surgeon include:

  • Jaw and joint problems
  • Biopsies
  • Bone grafts
  • Removal of tumors
  • Detection of oral cancer and necessary treatments
  • Extractions, including wisdom teeth
  • Placement of dental implants

Discuss your dental goals with your dentist. Together you will decide what treatment path is going to be best for you and which dental professionals will need to be consulted to get the best results.

What to expect from oral surgery

Most of the time, oral surgery procedures are able to be completed as outpatient treatment using local anesthetic. Occasionally an intravenous anesthetic may be used, depending on the individual patient and their personal sensitivities and needs. Ensure you are well hydrated before your planned surgery, this will aid in your recovery.

If you are a smoker, try to quit smoking for at least five days prior to your surgery date. It is imperative to follow the post operative care instructions given to you after your surgery. These instructions will include a list of soft foods which will be easier to eat for a week or so as you recover and transition back to regular eating habits. Your surgeon may give you antibiotics and pain medications. Take your pain medication only as needed but be sure to finish all antibiotics so you do not develop an infection, slowing your recovery.

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