Surgery performed within the mouth is known as oral surgery. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, dental surgeons and dentists all perform oral surgery.
Minor procedures such as a simple tooth extraction are usually performed with a local anaesthetic administered by the dentist in the dental surgery.
However more invasive or complex surgical procedures often require intravenous sedation or general anaesthesia. For most patients having dental surgery, the procedures are usually fairly short, so patients will often go home a few hours after the procedure.
Young children who are particularly fearful may need to have general anaesthesia, even for relatively simple oral surgery. General anaesthesia in a child can greatly reduce anxiety and assist the child’s acceptance of regular dental care. Orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery (mandibular osteotomy, bimaxillary osteotomy or surgically assisted maxillary expansion) may necessitate one or two days in hospital to recover but this will be guided by your recovery and in consultation with your surgeon.
General anaesthesia for oral surgery is similar for anaesthesia for other types of surgery and this will be discussed with you at the time of your preoperative consultation with your anaesthetist.
On occasions special breathing tubes and other monitors may be required but this will depend on your specific operation.
Post operative pain is often relieved by local anaesthetic injected during the procedure. Drugs such as paracetamol, codeine and anti inflammatory medications are commonly used. Stronger painkillers such as tramadol, morphine and pethidine may also be required after major surgery. You should let your anaesthetist or surgeon know if you are sensitive to any of these medications.
All anaesthetic and surgical procedures are associated with some risk.
Despite the highest standards of anaesthetic practice, complications are possible. Rarely they may be serious and permanent.
Most side effects to anaesthetic drugs are minor. Sometimes severe reactions can occur. Rarely such side effects may be severe or life threatening. As your anaesthetist is trained to manage these reactions, it is unlikely that a previous well patient will come to serious harm. The chance of a disastrous outcome has been estimated at less than one in 60,000 anaesthetic procedures.