Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.
At the end of a busy day recently, my clinic staff asked for my input with respect to a phone call that she received. What had happened was that a gentleman had contacted our clinic saying that he had been having problems opening his mouth since he had his wisdom teeth surgery done in Australia.
It had been three weeks since his oral surgery but he was still in discomfort and he could not even open his mouth to put a chopstick in between his front teeth. According to him, he had been “living on air” for the past weeks, being on a pureed diet, which understandably, was not very enjoyable.
His dental situation caused him so much distress that he flew to Singapore and showed up at our clinic less than 24 hours after the initial phone call.
He had gone through more than one specialist and had an MRI scan of the jaw joints performed in Australia. A detailed MRI report was given to him but there was nothing conclusive. According to him, his dentist basically told him she had never seen anything happen like that before!
Throughout my experience with major head and neck surgery patients since 1992, I have dealt with numerous individuals with severely limited mouth openings. I have also published a series of clinical articles regarding management of such conditions.
Some minor difficulty to open one’s mouth for a short period of time after surgical treatment is not uncommon. Basically, the more involved the procedure, the higher the chances that the patient may experience a limitation in mouth opening. We expect our patients to recover from that in a matter of days. Having mouth opening problem for three weeks was certainly out of the ordinary for wisdom teeth surgery and the key to manage this to resolve the question: WHY?
Short of going into all the procedural details, we managed to sort out the situation and this gentleman recovered very well within two days.
By now, he is back on his feet and returned to Australia. I am sure he is looking forward to kiss his loved ones once again.
Dr. Ansgar C. Cheng is a Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics (Teeth Replacement) with Specialist Dental Group™. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with the National University of Singapore. He has a special interest in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and treatment of medically compromised patients, including cancer patients. For more information about Dr. Cheng, click here