David, male, 40, Pennsylvania
- Overall Rating
- average of all patients
I noticed that there was a small bump on the roof of my mouth. I didn’t think much of it, figuring I’d burned my mouth on pizza or something. Well, that bump swelled up into a small hard knot in the soft palate tissue in the middle of the roof of my mouth. There was no pain, no tenderness or anything else associated with it, so naturally, I ignored the growth for the next several months.
At my next dental check-up, I asked my dentist about it, and he said it was probably a fibroma and gave me the name of an oral surgeon. I booked a preliminary appointment and went in to have it evaluated. The oral surgeon looked at it for about five seconds, confirmed it was probably a fibroma and then talked about the different kinds of oral growths/tumors. While this one was most likely benign, he did recommend taking it out because fibromas can change and become cancerous.
Next, he explained the procedure to me. First, I was not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure, as I would have “light sedation.” They would use a laser to carve out the affected tissue, and the whole procedure would take approximately 5-10 minutes, then I would be in recovery for 40 minutes and I would need to be driven home.
The morning of the procedure, I came in, they put me in the chair and the doctor, the nurse and the other assistant kept up a constant stream of chatter and jokes at each other’s expense (either they really like working with each other, or it’s designed to distract nervous patients). They put the IV into a vein on the back of my hand and opened up the drip. Within probably five seconds, my head started to bob (up until that point, I was watching with great interest), and I decided to lean back against the headrest. Approximately 30 seconds later, I became aware of someone saying “can you swing your legs off the chair,” and I almost asked “when are you guys going to get started?” In fact, they were finished, and I became aware of a slight pinch in my hand where the IV had been and some numbness in my teeth and some packing in the roof of my mouth. They led me back very carefully to a recovery area and suggested I lie down. I started asking questions about the procedure and was told “hey, if you’re alert enough to ask this kind of stuff, you’ll be fine if you just sit.”
Basically, the numbness was from the Novocain they shot in after I was in “light sedation” (which, as far as I’m concerned, means O-U-T), and they said that would wear off in an hour or so. They took the packing out, and I could feel the hole in the roof of my mouth. It was tender, but there was no bleeding, and the discomfort was barely noticeable. Frankly, I’ve probably hurt myself worse brushing my teeth.
The sedative was the most interesting part of the experience and after having had it, I can see why they don’t want you to drive. That’s the most dangerous part of the whole thing. I looked at my watch when I got to the recovery area, some time passed, and I looked at my watch again. I would have sworn it was 30 seconds. More like 10 minutes. I remembered everything (people talking to me), but I had no sense of time passing. Or more likely, it wasn’t being processed. In all, it felt like I spent about 10 minutes in the recovery bay, but my watch said it was more like 40. I felt progressively more alert and clear-headed (coming off the sedation basically feels like you spent the evening drinking tequila, but without the headache and nausea) and probably could have driven home, given another 40 minutes, but I was glad my wife was there to chauffeur me.
I was given a set of after-care instruction that included not rinsing, brushing or doing anything for the next 24 hours. Eating was fine (I went home and had a couple of bananas and some orange juice), and I should do warm saltwater rinses 3-4 times a day for the next several days. I was given and filled a prescription for Vicodin, because I was informed that with this kind of surgery, the first couple of days don’t hurt, but by the third day, the inflamed nerves can kick back in.
I’d gone in at 9, the procedure was over by 9:20, and I was home by 10:30 where I hung out for about 90 minutes. Then I drove myself in to work and was fine. I did the rinses (for the first few days anyway), and experienced NO pain at all. Never needed so much as an Advil, let alone the Vicodin. I went for a follow-up a week later, was told everything was looking good and that the pathology report confirmed it was a fibroma with no malignant characteristics. Generally, these don’t come back and are among the most common occurrence seen by my oral surgeon. There is a final follow-up in another month, but I expect that to be no big deal given how things already went. It’s been two weeks, and I can barely feel the spot anymore.
None: this was a very simple procedure, though I feel they could have combined the preliminary evaluation and procedure.
- posted by HealthAngle July 8, 2007
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