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Frequently Asked Questions

Diagnostic

Q. Do I have to be referred by another Doctor in order to get an appointment?

A. No. A direct call to our office from the patient ( or parent ) is all that is necessary to make an appointment. We make every effort to be on time for your appointment. Therefore, patients are seen by appointment only.

Q. Do I have to have an x-ray?

A. Almost all surgical procedures will require a x-ray. The panoramic x-ray is the most useful in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Small periapical x-rays are useful for detection of dental caries and periodontal disease. They allow more detail. The panoramic x-ray is more valuable for detection of cyst, impacted teeth, and tumors of the jaws. Every one should have at least one general screening panoramic x-ray.

Q. Do I have to have a pre operative consultation?

We encourage and highly recommend pre operative consultations. This enables us to discuss surgical procedures, possible complications, proper post operative care, and office payment policies. Questions or concerns that patients have can be answered at this time. Consultations also have the advantage of allowing our office to schedule appointments more efficiently thus reducing waiting time for patients.

Surgical

Q. What is an impacted tooth?

A. An impacted tooth is one that is bio-mechanically or physiologically prevented from erupting into a functional position in the dental arch. Classification of an impacted tooth may be based on the anatomical relationship of the tooth to the bony structure of the jaw, or the surgical procedure required to remove the tooth.

Q. What is orthognathic surgery?

A. Correction of craniofacial disharmonies by the surgical repositioning of segments of the mandible (lower jaw bone) or maxilla (upper jaw bone) containing one to several teeth, or the bodily repositioning of entire jaws to establish normal functional relationship among osseous, muscular, and contiguous structures. (osteotomy or osteoplasty) 

Q. What is a cyst?

A. A cyst is an abnormal epithelial-lined sac or growth in soft tissue or bone, enclosing a cavity that may or may not be filled with a semi-solid material or fluid.

Anesthetic

Q. What types of anesthesia are available?

A. Topical anesthesia: A topical anesthetic is a gel or liquid applied on the oral mucosa to desensitize the tissue prior to the injection of a local anesthetic.

Local anesthesia: Regional anesthesia in which an anesthetic solution is injected into the operative field so that small terminal nerve fibers and their sensory receptors are rendered insensitive in the area of the operative site.

Intravenous sedation: A depressed level of consciousness that retains the patient's ability to maintain an airway and to respond to physical stimulation or verbal commands, produced by the intravenous administration of a pharmacologic agent.

Inhalation sedation: A depressed level of consciousness produced by inspiring a mixture of anesthetic gases.(oxygen and nitrous oxide)

General anesthesia: A controlled state of unconsciousness with a complete loss of protective reflexes, including loss of the ability to maintain an airway and respond to physical stimulation, produced by a pharmacologic agent.

Q. Do I have to have an intravenous line (needle) in my arm or hand?

Yes. Intravenous lines are required for intravenous sedation and general anesthesia.

Q.Can I have outpatient general anesthesia at the Owensboro Surgery Center?

Yes. Arrangements can be made for Dr. Tucker to perform your surgery at the ambulatory surgery center.

Pre-Operative Instructions:

Q. What do I need to do before surgery?

A. We often have questions about pre-operative instructions. Our office has prepared the following list of instructions for our patients.

  1. If you have morning surgery, do not eat or drink anything after mid-night the night before. If you have afternoon surgery, do not eat or drink anything for 8 hours before surgery.
  2. A responsible adult must be with you during your entire stay with us and be available to drive you home. This person may not leave the office at any time while you are here without special permission from the doctor.
  3. All minors must have a parent or legal guardian to sign a permit or consent form for oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  4. Plan to be in the office for approximately one hour. Appointments are made for a precise time but in the practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery, delays are sometimes unavoidable.
  5. Do brush your teeth and cleanse your mouth the morning of your surgery to help avoid infection.
  6. Wear loose clothing with short sleeves. Please, no turtlenecks!
  7. Do not wear contact lenses.
  8. Do not wear eye makeup, heavy face makeup, wigs or hairpieces.
  9. If you are prevented from keeping your appointment, please notify this office as soon as possible.
  10. Have a pillow, light blanket, trash can liner, and a box of Kleenex in the car.
  11. Have an ice pack available for use at home.
  12. Prescriptions and post-operative instructions will be given on the day of surgery. In addition an appointment for a post-operative visit will be made.

Post-Operative Instructions

Q. What should I do after surgery?

A. Our office has prepared the following list of post-operative instructions for our patients.

  • Bleeding - Fold two 2x2 gauze pads and place over the extraction site (sites). Gently bite to apply pressure for 20 to 30 minutes. The pad should be thick enough that the front teeth do not touch. This is the best way to stop bleeding and should be repeated as often as needed. Rest with head elevated until bleeding stops. Do not expectorate (spit). Expectoration increases bleeding.
  • Infection - To prevent post-operative infection one should maintain good oral hygiene. Starting 24 hours after surgery rinse mouth with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 oz. of warm water) 4 to 6 times a day and brush teeth after meals and at bedtime. Avoid vigorous rinsing and sucking on the wound. These actions increase bleeding.
  • Swelling - Swelling will become progressively worse after 3 days, and may not subside completely for 10 days. The application of ice packs during the first 24 hours may help reduce swelling. Apply for 20 to 30 minutes then switch sides. Do not go to sleep with ice pack in place and be sure to wrap accordingly. A towel placed over a pillow is helpful to prevent staining.
  • Eating - Good nutrition is necessary for proper healing. Following oral and maxillofacial surgery it is often necessary to take a liquid or semi-liquid diet of soups, jello, puddings, custards, and blenderized foods. Smaller multiple meals help one to consume adequate nutrition.
  • Smoking - Smoking is detrimental to your health and healing after oral and maxillofacial surgery. Do not smoke.
  • Pain - Post-operative pain should be expected and may be most severe the first day. It will diminish each day thereafter.
  • Medications - Take any medications prescribed by Dr. Tucker as indicated on the label. Do not drive or do anything dangerous if you are taking pain medication. Nausea is a common side effect of pain medications.
  • Temperature - A low grade fever is common after oral and maxillofacial surgery. Contact the office for temperature of 100 degrees or above.
  • Commercial mouthrinses - Commercial mouthwashes should be diluted 1/2 by water.
  • Activities - Avoid exercise until clearance is given by Dr. Tucker. If you received a general anesthetic or sedation do not drive, return to work, or return to school the day of your surgery.
  • Concerns - Any difficulty which you consider abnormal contact our office immediately.

Insurance

Q. What is your office policy regarding insurance?

A. Our office policy is payment in full at the time of service for all treatment unless other arrangements have been made in advance. If any questions or problems arise regarding your account, please call. Many times, a simple telephone call will avert misunderstandings.

To assist you in payment of your account, we offer the availability of using Visa, MasterCard, or CareCredit.

In most cases, dental insurance does not cover the full cost of surgical care. A down payment at the time services are rendered is required. Please remember you are fully responsible for all fees charged by this office for professional services regardless of your insurance coverage. Our office will submit an insurance predetermination of benefits at your request. This allows one to know their benefits before services are rendered. An excellent review of dental insurance benefits can be found at About.com : Dental Care.