Frequently Asked Questions

Our frequently asked questions (FAQs) are the most common questions asked by our patients. After you read these, if you would still like further clarification or need an answer to a completely different question, please don’t hesitate to call (904) 230-6399 or email us. We will be more than happy to assist you in any way we can.

What does maxillofacial mean?

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a recognized specialty of the dental profession dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, injuries and defects of both the functional and esthetic aspects of the mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, face and related structures. Our practice includes a broad range of surgical services. This includes the extraction of teeth; treatment of impacted teeth; placement of dental implants; treatment of cysts, tumors and other pathologies of the mouth, jaws and related facial structures; treatment of oral and facial infections; correction of jaw deformities (orthognathic surgery); treatment of facial trauma; diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders; and cosmetic surgery.

What is the typical recovery time after wisdom tooth extraction?

Although no two patients are the same, we expect a full recovery three to five days after a routine wisdom teeth or third molar extraction. For third molars that are more impacted, the recovery period is typically five to seven days. Complete resolution of postsurgical swelling may take up to a few weeks.

If I’m not in pain, why do I have to return for a follow-up appointment?

We don’t expect our patients to have complications after an oral surgery procedure; however, a follow-up visit will ensure that healing is proceeding as it should.

How do I know if I’m at risk for dry socket?

Several known risk factors include difficult impactions, prolonged extractions, and immediate use of tobacco before and/or after extractions. Female patients have higher risks, particularly when menstruating or on birth control therapy. So do older patients.

If my dentist took X-rays, then why do I need to have a panoramic X-ray at your office?

A panoramic X-ray is a more complete and comprehensive X-ray examination of the entire upper and lower jaw structures as well as the jaw joint structures, upper sinus cavities, lower jaw nerves and all related areas of the head and neck region. Dental X-rays are for the teeth, and often these do not show all of the related root and bone structures. This is particularly important when planning a surgery.

What is oral pathology?

Differential diagnosis of pathology in the maxillofacial region is an important part of the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. If indicated, biopsies and/or other tests can be performed to arrive at a definitive diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. Early detection and treatment of oral lesions greatly improve the patient’s prognosis.

What is IV sedation?

Intravenous conscious sedation (“IV sedation”) is the administration of drugs, usually of the antianxiety or analgesic varieties, into the blood system during dental treatment. IV sedation induces a state of deep relaxation. The patient feels unbothered by what is going on.

The drugs used for IV sedation produce either partial or full memory loss (amnesia) from the time the drug first kicks in until it wears off. As a result, time will appear to pass very quickly, and you will not recall much of what has happened. Many people remember nothing at all. So it may, indeed, seem as if you were asleep during the procedure.

When can I eat on the side of my mouth where the bone graft was placed?

When you arrive home after surgery, we encourage you to start drinking some clear liquids (e.g., Gatorade®, apple juice, etc.). You will likely be tired, especially if you had a general anesthetic. However, try to drink or eat something before reclining. It is best to stay away from milk products for 72 hours. Also, you will soon need some pain medication; and it is preferable to have something in your stomach before taking medication, to avoid nausea.

I had a bone graft placed. What is that white thing I can see in the hole now?

Don’t worry, that white thing you see is actually called a membrane. It is placed intentionally over the bone that was inserted into the socket, to help protect that bone while the surrounding tissues are healing over.

Why do I need to schedule an exam, when my dentist referred me to you?

We quite frequently will provide an exam and surgery the same day for shorter surgeries. However, for longer procedures an examination appointment provides the following: the doctorswill be able to complete a thorough exam and overall evaluation of your specific dental/surgical needs; a treatment plan and approach (e.g., local anesthesia or general anesthesia) will be discussed and outlined in detail for you; our surgical assistants will spend additional time familiarizing you with preparation for surgery and your aftercare; finally the business office will review the fees, insurance and payment plans with you. Overall, it guarantees a better experience for longer procedures because of the preparation and education provided at this appointment.

Do I have to be referred by a dentist to schedule an appointment?

You are not required to have a referral from a dentist; however, it is recommended. Unnecessary visits can be avoided if you first see a general dentist for a full evaluation, X-rays, and cleaning. Your dentist can develop a treatment plan for you and determine whether a visit to our office is needed.

Why do I need a biopsy, can’t we just remove the area?

Biopsies are actually simple procedures, involving the removal of oral tissue for examination by a pathologist. Although the word biopsy may cause anxiety, due to its inherent link to cancer evaluation, you need not jump to conclusions: the majority of biopsies do not result in a cancer diagnosis. There are a number of reasons why your dentist might refer you to a surgeon for an oral biopsy. You may have a lesion in your mouth that he or she cannot identify. Or you may have a lesion that hasn’t healed in over two weeks, or one that has grown larger over time. Biopsies are also done to identify the cause of any thick, white lesions rising above your normal oral tissue or to investigate any lumps below the skin surface. Furthermore, biopsies are indicated when someone drinks or smokes heavily and also has suspicious areas of varying texture inside his or her mouth. And finally, some medical conditions can make a person more susceptible to intraoral lesions that require investigation.