Oral surgery doesn’t have to scare you

No one wants to have surgery, of course, but there is a type of surgery that can cause particular distress for some people, especially those with odontophobia (i.e. fear of surgery dentistry): oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Whether it is due to the extraction of a wisdom tooth, cancer, a birth defect or the correction of an injury, people who need this category of procedure can find themselves deeply unhappy. about their situation, anxious about how best to take care of themselves and uncertain about the future. As Professor Maria Papageorge, chair of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery and associate dean of hospital affairs at Tufts University School of Dentistry, says, “Many, if not most, if not all, patients have very scared when it comes to these surgeries.

Maria Papageorge, professor and chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Photo: Alonso Nichols

But Papageorge, who is also an attending surgeon and chair of the dental department at Tufts Medical Center, says patients can take steps to prepare for oral surgeries — and that preparation is key to ensuring a smooth process: “I tell all of my patients, ‘The more you know, the better.’ As healthcare professionals, we don’t try to scare patients away with information; it’s just that when you’re ready for something, when you know what’s going to happen, it lowers the level of anxiety and it happens more easily.

Here are Papageorge’s top tips for preparing for oral and maxillofacial surgery and for minimize anxiety, distress and fear surrounding the process.

To ask questions. Talking to your doctors is the first step and the best way to get reliable information. “I tell my patients, ‘Please don’t watch YouTube,'” Papageorge says. “Of course they can, but if they have questions, they should ask us. We have experience of seeing many patients go through similar procedures; we know what their postoperative evolution is, and we can effectively relay this information to the patient. The Internet is full of information, but sometimes it scares patients more. »

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