Definition & Overview

Oral surgery consultation is recommended for patients who are about to undergo both minor and major oral surgeries such as tooth extraction, cleft lip and palate repair, and dental implant insertion, among others. These surgeries are performed by maxillofacial surgeons – dental professionals who have undergone postgraduate studies in dental surgery and have completed a residency period that improved their skills in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of oral diseases, disorders, and injuries.

Oral surgery consultations can take place in a hospital setting or dental office of a private practitioner. Consultations shouldn’t take up much time, except if the surgeon requires diagnostic tests and dental scans.

The consultation involves diagnosing the condition and discussing all treatment options available for the patient. The risk and complications, as well as the benefits and disadvantages of the recommended treatment plan, will also be discussed in detail.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

Maxillofacial surgeons perform a wide variety of dental procedures, such as simple or complex tooth extractions, insertion of dental implants, and treatment of pediatric dental problems. They also specialize in the treatment of more complex cases such as jaw reconstruction, management of facial pain and treatment of infections that affect the head and oral cancer.

The surgeon typically initiates the consultation with a short interview. Questions concerning the patient's health, lifestyle, medical history, and family history of diseases will be discussed to accurately diagnose the condition.

The expected result is getting a diagnosis of the patient's condition and the list of all available treatment options. If the initial investigation is not enough to make a diagnosis, a series of tests and dental scans will be required.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Oral surgery consultations usually begin with a short interview about the patients' symptoms or their aesthetic goals (if they intend to undergo a cosmetic surgical procedure). The interview is typically followed by a physical exam wherein the patient's mouth, teeth, and jawbones are thoroughly assessed to look for any obvious signs such as infections. Depending on the result of the initial physical examination and the type of surgery to be performed, additional tests or scans may be required.

Once the surgeon has all the information, he or she will discuss his or her findings with the patient. The surgeon will attempt to explain the condition and the surgical procedure in details. Patients are encouraged to raise their questions to fully understand the recommended treatment plan, how the procedure will be performed, what to expect during recovery, and most of all, the possible risks and complications of the procedure.

Possible Risks and Complications

Oral surgery consultations are non-invasive, so they normally don’t have any risks or possibility of complications. However, additional tests, x-rays, or scans present a few risks. For example, x-rays emit radiation may not be safe for pregnant women. Also, there is a risk of adverse reaction to anesthesia, which is typically used in oral surgeries.

References:

  • American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons: "The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon."
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