Rare Side Effects After Oral Surgery

Hand with marker writing What Do You Need To Know?Undergoing surgery of any type can result in side effects — and oral surgery is no exception. Fortunately, most people experience minor side effects such as drowsiness from the anesthesia, some swelling at the surgery site and a small amount of bleeding. Knowing about the rare side effects that can occur helps patients recover more smoothly while also protecting their health.

1. Sinus Perforation

Every person's facial anatomy differs, so the space between the sinus floor and the roots of the teeth involved could be ample or very little. In patients whose sinuses are located very near the roots of their teeth — or whose sinuses actually touch their roots — there is an increased chance of sinus perforation. 

Treatment comprises three steps and is necessary to reduce the likelihood of a sinus infection and to stop fluid from draining between the mouth and nose. First, a resorbable membrane or collagen plug is placed at the site of the perforation. Bone-graft particulate is gently packed into the sides of the perforation. The final step involves the placement of another plug made of collagen or another dissolvable material over the bone graft to keep it in place while it heals.

2. Lockjaw

Lockjaw is most often associated with the name of a tetanus infection that is caused by a bacteria. While many of the same symptoms can occur, lockjaw can happen because of other causes besides tetanus. 

Sometimes called trismus, lockjaw is characterized by the painful contraction of the jaw's chewing muscles that often become inflamed. The result is that movement of the mouth is restricted to only the width of a couple of fingers. This can cause a number of issues for the person, including restricting the ability to eat, speak and swallow. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is also almost impossible to perform. 

Trismus can result from trauma to the jaw, because of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) or due to oral surgery. Sometimes a patient who has lower wisdom teeth extracted contracts lockjaw because of the resulting inflammation or the jaw's hyperextension during surgery. In other cases, the tissues are damaged during the delivery of anesthesia. 

While trismus is often a temporary condition, early treatment provides a better outcome for the patient. Medication, a diet consisting of soft foods and using a device that stretches the jaw are common treatment options. Physical therapy in the form of direct massage of the affected area and jaw-stretching exercises can also be beneficial. 

Like many other surgical procedures, oral surgery has rare side effects that can be potentially serious. In most cases, a patient who has oral surgery experiences only minor irritation, bleeding and/or swelling. The key is to choose your oral surgeon wisely. 

Northwest Oral provides its patients with only the highest level of care when it comes to oral surgery. Each of our doctors is board-certified and has specialized training in the administration of anesthesia and other surgical procedures. Patients at Northwest Oral are in the safest and most skilled hands. Contact Northwest Oral today to schedule an appointment