Oral Surgery & Procedures: Questions and Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Do I Need a Consultation? I Just Saw My Dentist.

Columbus Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery sees patients from a surgical point of view-very different than that of their dentist. Oral surgeons do provide very invasive, usually irreversible care that requires careful planning. And they use powerful medications for sedation or analgesia. All of these factors make it essential they know their patients very well, and in the best interests of you (the patient), the doctor must see and evaluate you first in most cases. True emergencies are an exception, and the doctor will take this into consideration.

For example, we will request your dentist to send your current panoramic x-ray and a referral to us indicating his specific requests or concerns. You will arrive at our office and a thorough health history will be taken by clinic personnel. Then the doctor will examine you, create a plan of treatment and present it to you. At this time your questions may be answered about insurance; payment arrangements can also be addressed at this appointment. To accommodate busy schedules and our patients' precious time, we will schedule patients with treatment (surgery) the same day as an option. We do this only when it is safe and we have a good idea of treatment necessary (especially when they have seen a doctor or dentist and have been referred). If patients even entertain the option of being treated same day, they should be aware that an escort should be present to drive them home if they are put to sleep. This many not always be the case.

On the day of a scheduled surgical procedure patients who will be sedated or put to sleep must plan to have someone bring them to our office and spend the afternoon with them. These patients will also always need to have an empty stomach (nothing to eat or drink) for six hours prior to a procedure. These cases are typically scheduled early in the surgery day for this reason.

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Why Do I Need a Clear and Current Panoramic X-Ray?

A clear and current (less than one year old in most cases) panoramic x-ray is necessary to completely assess the specific area(s) of treatment-and the current, up to date situation in your jaws and teeth. The specific and timely information about the bone structure, surrounding teeth, nerves, sinus area, and other major structures immediately prior to the procedure can and do affect the specific course of treatment. They are essential for the doctor to provide an adequate assessment to give you, the patient, proper informed consent for the procedures. Older, dated x-rays do not provide adequate "up to the minute" information and lead only to unhappy patients.

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Do I Have to Be Referred by Another Dentist or Doctor?

No, but we do prefer to work with a general dentist and a physician to maintain overall medical health at the same time that we attempt to treat and maintain a healthy mouth. It does little good to treat an infection in an uncontrolled diabetic without help of his physician! As both a dentist and physician, Dr. Scuba is interested in and focuses on the total patient. He recommends regular dental and medical check ups for our patients, especially those with medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, and other medical disease). Finally, patients who have more acute problems or true emergencies require expert management. We will usually manage these patients by treating the urgent problem (pain, infection) in the office or the hospital. However, we will recommend and will refer you to a general dentist or physician for comprehensive care of your mouth and general health in order to try to prevent such emergencies in the future.

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Do You Take Walk in Patients?

We will always do our best to see a patient who comes into our office with a painful or urgent/emergent dental (which often may be medical) problem. We usually see our scheduled patients first, but attempt to accommodate patients in pain or with other serious problems as much as is possible.

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Can I Drive Myself to and from a Surgery Appointment?

As a surgical facility, many of the surgical procedures we do are done under general anesthesia or conscious sedation. Because of this a patient undergoing treatment with such medications cannot (by law!) drive for at least 24 hours. If the procedure is done with local anesthetic alone, the patient may drive; however we still encourage a ride as some patients may be uncomfortable afterward. We will confirm this as well as many other important things during the consultation appointment.

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Do You See Children?

Our office will consider all patients. As a matter of safety we will, on occasion, recommend a patient with special medical or other concerns be seen in a hospital setting for treatment. This may be as an out-patient (same day surgery) or as an inpatient in rare instances. Candidates for inpatient surgery may include those patients with seriously compromised health and other issues in their overall management--cases best accomplished with skilled nursing before and after treatment. This may also include treatment of small children and other complex cases that warrant expert management not safely accomplished outside the hospital setting.

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What if I Have Other Problems or Concerns?

You are welcome to call us at (706) 507-0901 or to contact us through directly this website. Our office prides itself in answering questions and making the experience the most pleasant and comfortable possible. Our office staff and Office Manager are always available to discuss matters of concern with our patients.