It Is Important to Be in Good Oral Health Before Having Surgery


Your oral health has a critical role to play in your overall health.  While many people do not consider how something like gum disease or tooth decay can impact the rest of their body, it can.  People that have an infection in their mouth will find it more difficult to recover from any other type of illness simply because the body is already expending resources to fight the infection in you the mouth.  Simultaneously, research has shown that the same plaque that forms on the teeth is also found in heart attack victims.  While scientists are still studying the link between the two, it is clear that keeping plaque off of your teeth and preventing gum disease can be critical for your oral health and the health of the rest of your body.

Prior to Surgery

As a provider of oral surgery, we help patients with a variety of oral health issues.  We also help patients in need of bone grafting, orthognathic surgery, dental implants and more.  When meeting with patients to discuss needs and to complete an examination, we are always looking for signs of decay or infection.  It is necessary for us to identify issues like gum disease so that it can be treated and the gums can return to good health prior to surgery.


Why does it matter how healthy my teeth and gums are?

This is a question we hear regularly and the answer is fairly straightforward.  If we are performing oral surgery, we will be cutting into your gum tissue.  Even minimally invasive methods create the need to do so and if your gums are already infected, they will react poorly.  There will be a greater risk for developing additional infections, suffering from extensive bleeding, and feeling more soreness and overall discomfort.

Another consequence of unhealthy teeth and gums is a prolonged recovery process.  When getting dental implants, for example, your recovery time could be far longer if you have any signs of gum disease.  Also, things like smoking, having uncontrolled blood sugar, and more can all make it more difficult to return to good oral health after surgery. This makes it important to have a dental exam and to have any conditions treated prior to undergoing surgery.  During your consultation, be sure to also mention any other health issues that you are struggling with.


After your surgery, you need to take the steps necessary to keep the surgical area clean and to prevent additional decay or infection.  To do so, it is critical that you keep the area completely clean.  Immediately following your surgery, you can rinse your mouth with warm water as well as salt water.  This will gently clean your mouth.  We may also prescribe an antibiotic oral rinse that you can use each day.  Otherwise, you will need to carefully brush and floss your teeth.  However, we will give you very specific instructions for how to do so based on the type of oral surgery that you have had.  Be sure to ask questions during your preoperative appointment so that you can be prepared with the knowledge you need to care for your teeth and gums post-surgery.

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