Oral Surgery: When is it Necessary, and What to Expect?

Oral surgery can seem intimidating, but it’s important to remember that it’s often a necessary step to maintaining or improving your oral health. In this article, we’ll explore when oral surgery is necessary, what to expect during different procedures, and how to choose the right oral surgeon for your needs. Let’s dive in!

When is Oral Surgery Necessary?

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

One of the most common reasons for oral surgery is wisdom tooth extraction. Impacted teeth, pericoronitis (infection around the wisdom tooth), and cysts or tumors can all make extraction necessary. Generally, oral surgeons recommend the removal of wisdom teeth if they are causing pain, swelling, or infection, or if they are difficult to clean due to their position in the mouth.

Oral Surgery

In some cases, patients might require more advanced treatment, like what is offered by the Massanutten Dental Team and Oral Surgery. When standard dental procedures prove insufficient to address a particular dental issue, oral surgery might be the only viable solution to restore the patient’s oral health.

Dental Implants

Another common reason for oral surgery is dental implant placement. Dental implant surgery, bone grafting, and sinus lifts are all steps that may be necessary in the process of replacing missing teeth with long-lasting, natural-looking implants. Dental implants are a popular choice for those looking to regain their confidence in their smile while maintaining proper oral health and functionality.

Preventive Dentistry

While oral surgery is sometimes necessary, implementing preventive dentistry for a healthy smile can help you avoid more invasive procedures. Proper oral hygiene practices, regular dental check-ups, cleanings, and interventions like dental sealants can make a big difference in the long-term health of your teeth and gums.

TMJ disorders

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause significant pain and discomfort, often requiring surgery to alleviate the symptoms. TMJ disorders can arise from a variety of causes, including teeth grinding, jaw misalignments, and arthritis. Oral surgery may be recommended as a treatment option if more conservative treatments, like orthodontic appliances and pain medications, have been unsuccessful.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, also known as jaw surgery, is necessary when a patient has a severe malocclusion (incorrect bite) or facial deformity that cannot be corrected through orthodontic treatment alone. This type of surgery can correct functional and aesthetic issues, leading to a healthier and more attractive smile.

Periodontal Surgery

Gum disease, technically called periodontal disease, can lead to bone loss and tooth loss if not properly treated. Periodontal surgery may become necessary if more conservative gum disease treatments, like deep cleanings and antibiotics, have not been successful in halting the disease’s progression.

Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery

Cleft lip and palate surgery addresses congenital deformities that affect a patient’s appearance, speech, and ability to eat. Surgical intervention is often necessary to address these issues, with treatment beginning shortly after birth and continuing into early adulthood in some cases.

What to Expect during Oral Surgery Procedures

Consultation and Planning

Before any oral surgery, you will have a consultation with your oral surgeon, during which diagnostic tests may be performed to assess the situation. Based on these tests, your surgeon will develop a treatment plan that best addresses your oral health needs and discuss the procedure with you.

Dental Services

In addition to specialized oral surgery, many oral surgeons also provide comprehensive dental services in Rockingham and other locations. These include preventive care, restorative treatments, and cosmetic dentistry. A broad range of services ensures that patients can receive treatment tailored to their specific needs, from routine cleanings to complex surgical procedures.

Anesthesia Options

Depending on the procedure and the patient’s preferences, there are several anesthesia options available during oral surgery. Options range from local anesthesia to numb the area, sedation to help you relax, or general anesthesia, which renders you unconscious for the duration of the procedure.

General Steps of Oral Surgery Procedures

While the specifics of each procedure will vary, most oral surgeries involve making incisions in the gum tissue, removing or repairing the affected structures, and suturing the tissue back together. Your oral surgeon will provide you with detailed information about your specific procedure during your consultation.

Recovery from Oral Surgery

Post-operative Care Instructions

After your oral surgery, it is essential to follow your oral surgeon’s post-operative care instructions to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. This includes pain management, dealing with any swelling, and maintaining a soft food diet during the initial recovery period.

Oral Hygiene during Recovery

Keeping your surgical site clean and free from infection is critical during your recovery. Your oral surgeon will offer guidance on how to care for the area, including rinsing with saline or a prescribed medicated mouthwash and using a gentle toothbrush when instructed.

Potential Complications

As with any surgery, there are potential complications that may arise. While uncommon, issues like infection, dry socket, and nerve damage may occur. It’s essential to keep an eye out for signs of complications and contact your oral surgeon if you experience any unusual symptoms during recovery.

Follow-up Visits and Long-term Care

Expect to have one or more follow-up visits with your oral surgeon to monitor your recovery and ensure proper healing. In some cases, long-term care may be required, such as further orthodontic treatment or additional surgical procedures.

Choosing the Right Oral Surgeon

Credentials and Experience

When selecting an oral surgeon, it’s crucial to check their credentials, board certification, and experience in the specific procedure you need. This ensures that you receive the best possible care and treatment from a highly skilled professional.

Communication and Comfort Level

Consider your level of trust and comfort with an oral surgeon during your consultation. You should feel at ease asking questions and discussing treatment options. Reading patient reviews and seeking recommendations can help you find a surgeon with a positive reputation.

Advanced Technology and Techniques

Modern oral surgery often involves advanced imaging modalities and minimally invasive techniques. Finding an oral surgeon who utilizes these state-of-the-art approaches can improve your surgical outcomes and potentially reduce recovery time.


Ongoing advancements in oral surgery have made it possible to address a wide range of dental and oral health issues effectively. Awareness of when oral surgery is necessary, understanding what to expect during the process, and choosing the right oral surgeon will enable you to make informed decisions about your oral health care.