Stopperich Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Wisdom Tooth Removal – Aftercare

Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is extremely important! Read on for instructions on how to care for your sore mouth, and how to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.

Immediately Following Surgery

'woman smiling after wisdom tooth extraction'Keep a firm, yet gentle, bite on the gauze packs that have been placed in your mouth to keep them in place. You can remove them after an hour if the bleeding is controlled. If the surgical area continues to bleed, place new gauze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Be careful!

Do not:

  • Rinse vigorously
  • Probe the area
  • Smoke (hopefully you don’t!!)
  • Participate in strenuous activities

You can:

  • Brush gently (but not the area)
  • Begin saltwater rinses 24 hours after surgery (mix 1 tbs of salt with 1 cup of water). Make sure to swish gently. These rinses should be done 2-3 times a day, especially after eating.

Enjoy some down-time!

Keep activity level to a minimum! Enjoy a day of couch or bed-rest, as being active could result in increased bleeding. Avoid exercise for 3-4 days, and when you do begin exercising again, keep in mind your caloric intake has been reduced so you may feel weaker.

Bleeding

As you’ve just had surgery, some bleeding will occur and it’s not uncommon to ooze blood for 24-48 hours after your procedure. REMEMBER-the blood you see is actually a little blood mixed with saliva, so don’t panic!
If excessive bleeding persists:

  1. Try repositioning the packs. They may not be putting enough pressure on the site.
  2. Sit upright and avoid physical activity.
  3. Use an ice pack and bite on gauze for one hour.
  4. You can also try biting on a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes (the tannic acid in tea promotes blood clotting).
  5. If bleeding persists, please call our office at 724-942-4800.

Pain

Unfortunately, some pain is to be expected after surgery. Try not to let the anesthetic wear off before taking your prescribed pain medication. Dr. Stopperich will have discussed a plan to manage your pain, make sure you follow these instructions.

Diet

Eat nourishing food that takes little effort.
Avoid:

  • Extremely hot foods
  • Straws (for the first few days)
  • Chewing (until tongue sensation has returned)
  • Smaller foods that can become stuck in the socket area
  • Skipping meals—while eating may seem like a lot of work, you need your nourishment to be able to heal and feel better!

Day 2 and 3 Following Surgery

Swelling

Swelling is a completely normal occurrence. Keep in mind, swelling will usually be at it’s worst in the 2-3 days after surgery. You can minimize swelling by applying a cold compress (covered with a towel) firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area. Apply the pack with 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off for the first 24-48 hours. Also make sure to take the medication prescribed by Dr. Stopperich. This helps with pain and swelling.

Keeping your mouth clean

Keeping your mouth clean is very important! Continue saltwater rinses as often as you’d like, but at least 2-3 times a day. Begin your normal oral hygiene (remember to brush softly and don’t do anything that hurts)!

Healing

Everyone heals differently, but your timeline should look similar to this:

  1. Day 1-2 will be the most uncomfortable and you will experience some swelling.
  2. Day 3 you should be more comfortable and while still swollen, you should be able to begin a more substantial diet.
  3. Day 4 and on you should see a gradual and steady improvement.

Other Normal Things

  • Discoloration. Bruising is a normal post-operative occurrence you may notice 2-3 days after surgery.
  • Stiff jaw muscles. You may find it difficult to open your mouth wide in the days following your surgery. This is normal and usually resolves itself within a week after surgery. Stretching these muscles may help to speed up recovery.

Since no two mouths are alike, do not take advice from friends (even well-intended advice could cause a healing set-back). The advice given to you from Dr. Stopperich and the Stopperich Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery team are tailored to fit your needs. Please call us at 724-942-4800 if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. Happy healing!

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Oral Cancer and Hepatitis C

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) recently found that individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus are two to five times more likely to develop head and neck cancers. The JNCI study found that the risk for hepatitis C patients of developing head and neck cancers more than doubled for oral cavity and oropharynx cancers, and increased nearly five times for larynx cancers. As well, patients that are hepatitis C virus-positive were also more likely to test positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).

'oral cancer' 'hepatitis c'The question remains, how does hepatitis C virus increase oral cancer risk?

The JNCI research found that patients infected with the hepatitis C virus had a higher odd ratio of having cancer of the oral cavity, oropharynx, or larynx than those without hepatitis C virus infection. Enhanced replication of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal tissues may in fact contribute to chronic inflammation, ultimately prompting cancer development. Human papillomavirus is known to suppress local immune response, which may accelerate the production of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal cells. The JNCI notes that human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus may play a “synergistic role” in the development of oropharyngeal cancers by stimulating loss or destruction of tumor suppressor proteins p53 and retinoblastoma protein.

The JNCI notes that one of the study’s limitations is that it didn’t include individuals with hepatitis C virus who didn’t have oral cancer. All and all, it is important to take away from The Journal of the National Cancer Institute’s study that it is important to educate Hepatology (study of liver, gallbladder and pancreas health) and infectious disease specialists. These doctors who treat patients with hepatitis C virus need to understand that the hepatitis C virus not only drastically affect liver health, but it’s also a systemic infection that can drastically affect oral health.

Your oral health is important to us. If you suspect that your oral health is at risk, give Stopperich Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery a call today and schedule an oral cancer screening!

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Dental Implants 101

Whether you are missing a tooth, or at risk of losing many, dental implants may be a great solution for you. Dental implants are an increasingly popular fix for missing or dying teeth, and have many benefits.

'Dental Implants 101'What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are high tech teeth. The root of your current tooth is removed, and replaced with a screw attached to a ‘cap’ that looks identical to a natural tooth. Many people report higher confidence and comfort after receiving their new tooth.

What’s so Great About Them?

The cool thing about implants is that if taken care of, they can last for life. Usually all that needs to be replaced, if anything, is the cap. The other great thing about implants is that they can’t die like natural teeth. You still have to clean and maintain them like your other teeth, but no roots are any longer at risk of causing that tooth to fail. In addition to that, many implants can last a lifetime!

What is the Surgical Process Like?

The process is done either all at once, or in steps. This depends on the recommendations for your particular case. The first step is to remove the root of your natural tooth, and place the implant in its place. If there is not enough bone to place the implant, we may encourage you to have bone grafting first. The gum is then stitched closed and allowed to heal. This can take five to six months. The next step is to reopen the gum and place an abutment on the implant, along with a temporary crown so you can heal while the permanent crown is made for you. You then return to get your permanent crown attached in a few weeks. In other cases, all of these steps can be done in a single visit, but it depends on your specific case.

If you have any questions, please call our office for more information, we would be glad to help!

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Pre-Implant Bone Augmentation

We are all unique, and so is your mouth! Sometimes, your jaw needs to be beefed up a little, and we’re not talking a hefty workout at the gym. You may have lost teeth due to gum disease which has resulted in bone loss, or you could just have been “born that way” and need a little help expanding!

'man lifting weights'Don’t let life get you down! We’ve got these options for you:

Sinus Lift or Sinus augmentation:

A sinus lift is often performed on people who have lost teeth in their upper jaw or are lacking adequate bone density. This procedure adds bone between your jaw and the maxillary sinuses (which are on either side of your nose), the area of your molars and premolars. To make room for the bone, the sinus membrane has to be moved upward, or “lifted.” The new bone means implants can be placed. This procedure does not affect speech, intonation or cause sinus problems. Sometimes this procedure is required in the alveolar ridge. The alveolar ridge is the part of the gums immediately behind the upper front teeth. Alveolar ridges contain the sockets, or alveoli, of the teeth. You can feel it on the upper palate if you say words like “tight”, “dawn” because the consonants are made with the tongue tip or blade reaching for this alveolar ridge.

Ridge Expansion or modification:

If your jaw isn’t wide enough to support dental implants, bone graft material can be added to a small ridge, or space that is created along the the jaw. Malformation in the lower jaw can result in not enough bone to place dental implants and it can also cause an unattractive indentation in the jaw line near the missing teeth that may be difficult to clean and maintain. During ridge expansion, the bony ridge of the jaw is increased and bone graft material is inserted and allowed to heal before placing the implant.
Ridge modification has been shown to greatly improve appearance and increase your chances for successful implants that can last for years to come. It can enhance your restorative success both aesthetically and functionally.

Whether you require a lift or expansion, the bone usually will be allowed to develop for about four to 12 months before implants can be placed. However, in some cases, the implant can be placed at the same time the ridge is modified.

What are you waiting for? Ask us today what your implant options can be!

Pediatric Facial Trauma

We’ve all had our share of trips, bumps, and even broken bones in our childhood years! (If you haven’t, then you’re very lucky!) As the saying goes, children are very resilient, and this is actually due to their biology. Children have “bendy bones” which are more likely to bend and crack under pressure rather than break.

'child with facial trauma holding soccer ball'The term is referred to as greenstick fractures; similar to when a green branch of a tree bends and cracks, but doesn’t break off.

Considering how much energy children have, pediatric facial trauma is actually very rare! Of all facial trauma, only 15% is pediatric (0-18 years).

The maxillofacial region is related to a number of vital functions, such as vision, smell, eating, breathing and talking. It also plays a significant role in appearance.

When treating children’s maxillofacial injuries, we take into consideration the difference anatomically between adults and children. Facial trauma can range between minor injury to disfigurement that lasts a lifetime if not treated correctly.

Children have much more flexibility in their facial bones, as well as smaller sinuses, multiple fat pads and unerupted teeth. In adolescents an increase in risk-taking behavior and the reduction of parental supervision results in an increase in facial fractures. Contact sports, physical play, riding bicycles, and even road traffic accidents all contribute to pediatric facial trauma.

A full treatment plan is always taken into consideration when we deal with facial trauma. The age of the patient, anatomic site of the trauma, complexity of the injury and how long since the injury occurred is taken into account. Ideally, don’t put off your incident for more than 4 days! This is prime healing time, and if any longer, could extend the healing and complicate the treatment process.

This is why it is very important to always wear protective gear! Remember to always have your children wear seatbelts, and invest in booster or car seats so your children can receive the full protection of seatbelt coverage.
During play, remember shin guards, mouth guards and helmets! Especially when riding a bike!

Play it safe, and if life throws a curve ball (at your face!) give Stopperich Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery a call at [PRACTICE_NUMBER]

Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

Dental implants are a safe and effective replacement for a missing tooth or teeth. The implant is placed in your jawbone and integrates with your natural bone. This implant then forms a stable, sturdy base for your new teeth.

What They Are

  • 'dental implant and regular tooth'Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.
  • Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.
  • Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

  • Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.
  • Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

  • Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.
  • Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them

  • Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.
  • Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at Stopperich Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery to discuss your options with an implant spe

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World Blood Donor Day: Blood Connects Us All

 

Safe blood supplies are a scarce commodity – especially in developing countries. Despite about 108 million yearly blood donations worldwide, safe blood is constantly on high demand!

'world blood donor day'World Blood Donor Day, celebrated every 14th of June, aims to encourage people to give blood and save lives without asking for anything in return. Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components; cells, platelets and plasma.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these are some key facts on blood availability worldwide:

  • Of the 108 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in the high-income countries, home to 18% of the world’s population. This shows an increase of almost 25% from 80 million donations collected in 2004.
  • In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.
  • Blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.8 donations per 1000 population; 11.7 donations in middle-income and 3.9 donations in low-income countries.
  • An increase of 8.6 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2004 to 2012. In total, 73 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 72 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.

This year, the WHO and World Blood Donor Day aims to do the following:

  • Thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood.
  • Generate public awareness for the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people in good health
  • Promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood.
  • Focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply in your community, and globally.
  • Persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors, and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.

This June 14th get involved, donate blood- save a life. Follow the link and find a blood drive near you!

Eating After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

When it comes to getting your wisdom teeth pulled, you may be stressing about the long list of foods you can’t eat. Don’t worry – you won’t starve! We want your recovery to be as quick and painless as possible, so keep reading for an easy-to-follow guide to eating after your wisdom tooth removal!

DONT’S

  • 'woman in pain after wisdom tooth extraction'Remember not to drink from a straw during your recovery. Using a straw could rip out your stitches or blood clots, causing dry socket.
  • The bubbles in carbonated drinks can also cause dry socket by loosening blood clots, so it’s best to avoid sodas.
  • Don’t eat crunchy foods like nuts, chips, and popcorn because they are hard to chew and can easily get stuck in your extraction sites.
  • Avoiding acidic foods and beverages can keep you from experiencing pain and stinging.

 

DO’S

  • Any liquids are fair game, like soups and broths. Lukewarm beverages are best, because you may experience temperature sensitivity.
  • Yogurt, pudding, applesauce and Jell-O are some go-to recovery foods: no chewing involved! Stick to these post-extraction staples for the first 24 hours after your surgery before moving on to soft foods that require chewing.
  • Mashed potatoes are great for the first few days because you can flavor them with gravy, butter, garlic, sour cream, cheese, the list goes on. Soft, starchy and filling, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on solid foods with these!
  • When you’re ready to move on to chewable foods, eggs are soft and can be eaten with just about anything.
  • You can even eat pancakes! They’re light, fluffy, and easy on your extraction sites (Tip: you can make breads even easier to chew by letting them sit in your mouth for a few seconds and softening them with your saliva).
  • Pasta is totally doable if you prepare it right. Macaroni and cheese is perfect because you can swallow the tiny noodles whole or chew them with your front teeth. You can also overcook your pasta noodles to make sure they are soft and easy to chew.

Your wisdom tooth extraction will be over with before you know it, and as long as you avoid difficult-to-chew foods you’ll be on your way to a speedy recovery!

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