Oral Surgery FAQ

Q: What is gingivitis? 

A: Gingivitis is a Latin phrase that means disease of the gingiva, or gums. It is typically identifiably as discolored and/or swollen gums. Gingivitis is a chronic infection, and is a condition that marks the beginning stages of periodontal disease. 

Q: What is periodontal tissue?

A: Periodontal tissue refers to the tissue around your teeth. Around needs to be understood as all around, as even the supporting structures underneath the gum line are part of the periodontium. 

Q: What is periodontitis? 

A: Periodontitis is the Latin phrase meaning disease of the periodontium. This is a bacterial infection of your gums and the tooth supporting structure, and is one of the most severe dental problems you can have. It can lead to tooth loss, oral cancer, infections elsewhere in the body, and a host of other illnesses. 

Q: How does periodontitis contribute to tooth loss? 

A: When gum tissue is infected it cannot work properly, and it’s main function is indeed keeping your teeth in place, and supporting them in their day to day activity, which is biting and chewing food. If the gum is infected it will be weakened, swollen, and in general fighting off bacteria, and thus it cannot fulfill its function properly. 

Q: How do you cure periodontitis? 

A: Usually antibiotics will do the trick. If the infection is too severe, oral surgery may need to be performed in order to save the remaining teeth. 

Q: How do you prevent periodontitis? 

A: Go to your six month check up regularly, and partake in hygienic treatments as well as just getting your teeth checked on a regular basis. When using at home dental care, floss daily, this will leave you with less plaque and less tartar, which will lead to less bacteria. 

Q: Are there any lifestyle issues that may result in an increased risk of periodontitis? 

A: Yes, there are. Smoking can cause periodontal diseases, such as periodontitis. Drinking alcohol also weakens the periodontium, which can increase your risk of infection. Coffee and tea dry out the mucus membranes, and if the periodontium is infrequently lubricated, bacteria will have an easier time settling in it. 

Q: How long does periodontal surgery take? 

A: This depends on the severity of the case. Sometimes, a 15 minute appointment is sufficient. More often than not, 30 to 45 minute appointments are taken to remove all of the affected tissue. Sometimes surgery needs to be repeated in order to be effective, and sometimes it can take longer, in particularly severe cases. 

Q: Will it hurt? 

A: The surgery is performed under anaesthesia, so you should not feel a thing. There is a certain amount of discomfort afterwards, however, and this is why pain medication is usually prescribed to help patients deal with the discomfort. How much discomfort you may feel is hard to gauge, as each patient reacts differently to pain, and has different thresholds for pain and discomfort. What may be unbearable for one patient may just be a slight, ignorable pain for another. 

Q: Can I still go down the pub or catch a smoke? 

A: Absolutely not. You should not smoke until your sutures are removed. Beer and other alcohol which has live agents and yeasts should not be consumed until all of the surgical area has healed over. All alcohol should be neglected until after your sutures have been removed. 

Q: What can I eat? 

A: After oral surgery, you may feel sore and some bone may have been removed, too. It is a good idea to resort to a soft diet for 3-4 days after the surgery. Dairy and living yeasts should be avoided until you heal over completely, as these foods may affect the surgical site. Foods that break down into hard or sharp chunks should also be avoided, as these can result in a rather painful accident. Any sort of sucking motion, including drinking through a straw, should be avoided for several days after oral surgery. 

Q: How long until I can resume my normal life?

A: Healing is a process, and it will take several days for your surgical site to heal over, but even after this has happened, you may experience discomfort or tenderness for weeks afterwards. As everyone heals differently and at different rates, it is hard to predict how long it will take before your mouth returns to normal.