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Oral Surgery Post Care: What are the warning signs of infection?

August 5th, 2020

People undergo oral surgery for a number of different oral- and tooth-related problems, including impacted, infected or abscessed teeth, or problems that cause inflammation. Oral surgery can involve anything from a root canal and similar treatments to the total extraction of a tooth or multiple teeth.

These procedures are designed to eradicate infection, but on occasion, complications occur, and this may cause other types of infection that require further medical attention. The human body has naturally occurring bacteria; some of which are beneficial, but some bacteria have the potential to be harmful. When the body's immune system is compromised either because of chronic illness (such as diabetes, or other conditions that lower resistance,) or surgery, the potential for infection increases.

What to Expect Following Oral Surgery

During the first few hours following surgery you will most likely be numb and should use caution, especially when eating. You will also be given pain medicine along with the suggestion that you not wait until you are in intense pain to take the medication.

Since you won't be able to brush your teeth in the area where the surgery was performed, you may be given a prescription medication to use as a mouth rinse. Gargling with warm saltwater will reduce swelling and help minimize pain. Be careful about what you eat for at least the first 24 hours; Dr. Herbst and our team advise sticking to soft foods such as Jello®, yogurt, smoothies, or soups.

Reasons for Concern

Post oral surgery infection is a rare complication and typically happens most often with people whose immune systems are compromised or those who are diabetic. A possible indication of infection following the surgery is bleeding that is present 24 or more hours following the surgery. Some residual blood is natural during the first few hours following surgery, but it subsides and bleeding should no longer be a concern. Although there may be some swelling following oral surgery, this should also subside, and ice can help with that.

Possible Symptoms of Infection

  • Throbbing pain that doesn't respond to pain medication indicates a serious problem.
  • Many people develop a fever following surgery, but should return to normal by the next day. If you have a low-grade fever that persists, or increases, contact Dr. Herbst immediately.
  • Increased swelling to the gums, jaw, or face is often indicative of infection, and it generally gets worse as the infection progresses. Seek prompt medical attention.
  • Any oozing discharge such as pus is always indicative of an infection and requires treatment.

If you are a patient with compromised immune system or medical problems for which an infection would be serious, an antibiotic will usually be prescribed. The natural presence of bacteria in the mouth increases the likelihood that bacteria could enter exposed areas. That is why it is so important that only sterile gauze pads be placed in the mouth, and that you gargle with warm saltwater and any other antibacterial gargle that has been prescribed. The presence of any or all of the above problems indicates a possible infection, and you should contact Dr. Herbst or our team at Union City Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Group.

Could a Night Guard Be the Answer to Your Dreams?

July 29th, 2020

Have you been having trouble getting a good night’s rest?

Sometimes the reason for a poor night’s sleep is obvious. A midnight horror movie. A bedtime espresso. That anchovy and pineapple pizza you had for dinner. Not much we can do about these problems.

Sometimes, though, the cause of your sleep difficulties is dental in origin, and that is something Dr. Herbst can help with.

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a very common dental problem. When people with this condition sleep, their jaws clench and their teeth grind against each other throughout the night. When to suspect you might suffer from bruxism?

  • You wake with a sore jaw, or you hear pops or clicks when you move your jaw
  • You suffer from frequent headaches or facial pain
  • Your teeth are chipped, cracked, flattened, worn down, or sensitive
  • You wake up tired, because grinding affects the quality of your sleep
  • Partners, siblings, or roommates complain about nocturnal grinding noises affecting the quality of their

Pain and fatigue are unpleasant enough, but there are additional serious consequences for those who suffer from bruxism. Our jaws are extremely powerful, and clenching and grinding can put hundreds of pounds on pressure on teeth and jaws over hours of sleep. These forces can lead to:

  • Damaged teeth. Cracked, chipped, and worn down teeth can mean veneers, crowns, and root canals. Seriously compromised or broken teeth might need to be extracted.
  • Damaged dental work. Bruxism can lead to fractured veneers and damaged fillings and crowns. If the damage is too serious for repair, replacement might be necessary.
  • Damaged jaw joints. Severe cases of bruxism can lead to injury to the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, the complex hinge that allows our jaws to move up and down, back and forth, and side to side.

While these problems can be treated with restorations, or root canals, or implants, or surgical procedures, prevention is clearly a much better option for a healthy smile. And one of the simplest and most effective treatments for preventing the damage caused by bruxism is a night guard.

Night guards fit over the affected teeth to prevent them from touching directly, saving tooth and enamel from injury and wear. Not only do night guards prevent contact, they spread the biting forces of the jaw over the surface of the guard to greatly reduce their impact. And because they also stop the jaw muscles from clenching tightly, there’s no excess stress placed on the temporomandibular joint.

While over-the-counter products are available, a dental professional is the best person to see for the most effective night guard. A custom night guard is designed to fit your individual teeth and mouth perfectly. Impressions or 3D scans are taken in the office, and a guard is fabricated with the precise shape, strength, and thickness you need to protect your teeth. And, as a bonus, custom night guards offer the most comfortable fit for the most comfortable night’s sleep.

If you suffer jaw pain on a regular basis, schedule a visit to our Union City, NJ office. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in treating conditions of the jaw and facial bones. We can diagnose the source of your jaw pain and prescribe treatment, whether the cause is bruxism or any other jaw disorder.

Scary movies, late night caffeinating, creative food combinations—not much we can do about those! But if you’re suffering lost sleep and painful mornings because of tooth grinding, give us a call. In many cases, a night guard just might be the key to sweet dreams.

How to Handle a Dental Emergency

July 15th, 2020

Whether it’s a broken tooth or injured gums, a dental emergency can interfere with eating, speaking, or other day-to-day activities. According to the American Dental Association , you can sometimes prevent dental emergencies like these by avoiding the use of your teeth as tools or by giving up hard foods and candies.

Even if you take excellent care of your mouth, however, unexpected dental problems can still arise. Our team at Union City Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Group is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assess and resolve your individual situation. When an emergency arises, you should immediately make an appointment with our office so we can put you at ease, give you the best possible care, and help you return quickly to your regular routine.

Damaged Teeth

For tooth damage in particular, don’t hesitate to call and schedule an emergency dental appointment. You should come in as soon as possible. However, if you have some time before your appointment there are a few things you can do to avoid further injury. If you break your tooth, clean the area well by rinsing it with warm water. To ease any discomfort, put a cold compress against your skin near the area with the affected tooth.

A dislodged tooth should be handled carefully in order to keep it in the best possible condition. Gently rinse off the tooth without scrubbing it and try to place it back into the socket of your gums. If it won’t stay in your mouth, put the tooth in a container of milk and bring it along to your dental appointment.

Injured Soft Tissues

For other problems, such as bleeding gums or an injured tongue, cheek, or lip, the Cleveland Clinic recommends gently rinsing your mouth with salt water and applying pressure to the site with a moist strip of gauze or a tea bag. If you’re also experiencing some discomfort, you can put a cold compress on your cheek near the area of the bleeding. If the bleeding continues, don’t hesitate to contact our office so you can receive further help.

A dental emergency may catch you off guard, but Dr. Herbst can provide fast, pain-free treatment. Follow the advice above and set up an appointment with us as soon as possible so you can put your teeth and mouth on the road to recovery.

Navigating the World of Dental Insurance Terminology

July 8th, 2020

Unless you work for an insurance company, you probably do not spend a lot of your time studying all the terminology that dental insurance companies use to describe the treatments and services they cover. If it seems pretty confusing, here are some of the most commonly used dental insurance terms and what they mean.

A Basic Glossary

Annual Maximum–The maximum amount your policy will pay per year for care at Union City Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Group. It is often divided into costs per individual, and (if you are on a family plan) per family

Co-payment– An amount the patient pays at the time of service before receiving care, and before the insurance pays for any portion of the care

Covered Services– A list of all the treatments, services, and procedures the insurance policy will cover under your contract

Deductible– A dollar amount that you must pay out of pocket each year before the insurance company will pay for any treatments or procedures

Diagnostic/Preventive Services– A category of treatments or procedures that most insurance will cover before the deductible which may include services like preventive appointments with Dr. Herbst, X-rays, and evaluations

In-Network and Out-of-Network– A list of providers that are part of an insurance company’s “network”

  • If you visit in-network providers, the insurance company will typically cover a larger portion of the cost of the care you receive. If you visit someone who is not part of the network, known as an out-of-network provider, the insurance company may pay for a portion of the care, but you will pay a significantly larger share from your own pocket.

Lifetime Maximum– The maximum amount that an insurance plan will pay toward care for an individual or family (if you have an applicable family plan)

  • This is not a per-year maximum, but rather a maximum that can be paid over the entire life of the patient.

Limitations/Exclusions– A list of all the procedures an insurance policy does not cover

  • Coverage may limit the timing or frequency of a specific treatment or procedure (only covering a certain number within a calendar year), or may exclude some treatments entirely. Knowing the limitations and exclusions of a policy is very important.

Member/Insured/Covered Person/Beneficiary/Enrollee– Someone who is eligible to receive benefits under an insurance plan

Provider– Dr. Herbst or other oral health specialist who provides treatment

Waiting Period– A specified amount of time that the patient must be enrolled with an insurance plan before it will pay for certain treatments; waiting periods may be waived if you were previously enrolled in another dental insurance plan with a different carrier

There are many different insurance options available, so you need to find out exactly what your insurance covers. It’s important to review your plan with a qualified insurance specialist. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the policy so you can understand it fully and be confident that you know everything your policy covers the next time you come in for treatment at our Union City, NJ office.

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