You’ve made the decision. You’re finally doing it. After years of ignoring your less-than-perfect smile, you’ve scheduled your cosmetic dental surgery, and will soon be flashing those pearly whites to anyone and everyone who will look at you. You’ve consulted with your dental surgeon, pretended like you understood the x-rays, and circled the date with a big red marker.
But what about the days leading up to your surgery? And the days after?
The surgery itself has its own concerns and worrisome aspects, all of which should have been covered by your surgeon. But here are some pre- and post-operative tips to help make the entire experience even smoother.
Know What You Can Eat. The complexity of surgery will determine what kind of anesthesia will be offered. The types can vary from local (basic numbing of the surgical site) all the way up to general (complete unconsciousness throughout the procedure). Different anesthesias have different requirements when it comes to what you can eat or drink the night before the surgery, so be sure to ask your surgeon about any restrictions or fasting periods.
Getting a Ride. If you’re going to be unconscious for the surgery, you’ll definitely need to secure a ride home, as most general anesthesia patients are legally prohibited from operating a motor vehicle within a certain period of time. But even if you opted to be awake for the whole surgery, you might want to secure a ride home anyway — either you’ll have some discomfort and will be in no mood to drive yourself, or you’ll be managing your post-op pain with painkillers, and you really shouldn’t be driving yourself.
Post-Operative Discomfort. After virtually every cosmetic dental surgery (indeed, all surgeries), there will be some discomfort. Your dentist can tell you what to expect as far as severity, but these are general guidelines, and different patients have different thresholds of pain. If your surgeon has prescribed a heavy-duty painkiller, be sure to fill the prescription as soon as possible. Otherwise, stock up on your over-the-counter painkiller of choice and plenty of ice packs.
Unlike emergency dental surgery, cosmetic dental surgery is something you can prepare for. Whether your having veneers placed or a whole new set of dental implants installed, be sure to think about the days before and after your procedure, so there are no hidden surprises to get in the way of your smile. To learn more, read this.