Will My Oral Surgery Procedure Be Painful?


We get a lot of questions from patients before a procedure, but, without a doubt, one of the most common questions is, simply put: “Will it hurt?” This is a natural question. Surgery is something most of us only go through a small number of times in our lives, and it’s simply instinct to be worried about and strive to avoid pain. Thankfully, we don’t have a hard time answering that question.


We strive to do our absolute utmost to ensure that every patient has a painless oral surgery experience.


Given the scope of our procedures, this may seem like a lofty goal, but we have a variety of techniques and a boatload of experience to know that we can provide this ideal procedure to our patients every time. Curious about how we accomplish these painless procedures? Read on to learn a bit about or various sedation techniques.


Minor Procedures


For the most minor oral surgeries, such as any gum treatment and tooth extraction, we will use a simple and common local anesthetic injected directly into the surgical area. Most commonly, this anesthetic is lidocaine, which is popular because it is incredibly effective and causes very few adverse reactions. In fact, it’s such an effective painkiller that it is used in almost every single one of our procedures, in conjunction with other techniques. It wears off quickly after surgery, and you can drive yourself home if we only use a local anesthetic for a procedure.


Moderate Procedures


For some of our lengthier procedures, including extractions, wisdom teeth removals as well as dental implant placements, we will add the use of nitrous oxide to the painkilling regimen for a surgery. Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide will be given to patients via a small mask. When combined with lidocaine, laughing gas can greatly increase your pain tolerance as well as relieve any anxiety. The laughing gas also wears off very shortly after the procedure.


Major Procedures


Either in our office or in a hospital setting, the most major procedures can require IV sedation or general anesthesia. For IV sedation, patients technically got in and out of consciousness during the surgery but frequently have no recollection of the treatment. We are also licensed to administer full general anesthesia. In these situations, you will need a friend or relative to drive you after the procedure.


With the full array of pain management tools are our disposal, we can ensure you have a painless procedure. Contact us to learn more!

The Best in Southern Utah

More than anything else, if there is one reason, we have our practice, it’s because we are dedicated to serving our patients and providing them with the best possible outcomes. It’s why most medical professionals get into their field: to help people. That is enough reward. However, it is exceptionally gratifying when we receive recognition for our dedication to patient safety and satisfaction.


That’s why we were so humbled and honored to find out that we’d received not one, but multiple gold badges in 2020’s Best of Southern Utah awards. We earned awards as the Best Medical Facility, the Best Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, and Best Doctor in Southern Utah, all in the most recent year. It’s not the first time we’ve earned accolades for our practice, but, to us, it confirms our commitment to excellence year in and year out. These awards may be humbling, but we aren’t too humble to say that we think you should choose us for your next oral surgery, and here are some of the reasons why we’ve been voted the best in Southern Utah.


Constant Communication 

We get that the world of oral surgery can be daunting and confusing. After all, we spend every day dealing with it, but most of our patients only have a couple of oral surgeries in their entire life. We aim to take away some of the more unknown aspects of undergoing oral surgery with communication. This isn’t just focused on the dry (at least, to some of our patients!) medical details, but we also want to ensure that patients’ emotions, financial concerns, and expectations are all clearly communicated. Proper communication is an underrated key to patient success and happiness.


Incredible Patient Results

It may sound hyperbolic to say that our treatments are life-changing, but, for many of our patients, that is absolutely true. Our top of the line dental implants gives people a boost in self-esteem and quality of life, including being able to eat a wider array of foods again, that is priceless to many patients. For those who suffer the devastating pain of TMJ, our procedures can alleviate huge levels of pain and provide long-lasting and incredible relief. These are just a couple of prime examples of how some of our treatments can literally alter a patient’s life for the positive.


Convenience is Key 

Access to your medical professional sometimes feels like it comes at a premium. We are always available to answer a patient’s questions, and we are even available for emergency care. Before your first visit, we check with your insurance provider to ensure you receive a clear and concise financial estimate with a lower wait time. We remove the guesswork and get you the information you need in a faster time.

These reasons are just a few to showcase why we earned so many gold badges in 2020’s Best of Southern Utah awards. Contact us to learn more!

What You Need to Know About Our Sedation Options

Oral surgery can make potential patients anxious, and that means that there are a couple of questions that we get frequently. One is how much pain or discomfort that you can expect during a procedure, and the other we get a lot is about if you will be awake or under anesthesia for the duration. Both of these questions can be addressed by considering our various sedation options for our procedures. Based on customer comfort and the level of complexity to the procedure, there is a wide range of options, all of which we are proficient with at the Oral and Facial Surgery Institute.


Minor Procedures


Some of the simplest surgical treatments we perform include basic gum treatments and easy, simple tooth extractions. For these procedures, we generally use only a local anesthetic, which is lidocaine. Lidocaine is actually used in almost all of our sedation options as our local anesthetic, but it will be used on its own for these minor procedures.


Kicking Up a Notch with Laughing Gas


As the procedures get more complex, we add some more sedation options. For common procedures like wisdom teeth extraction or implant placements, we will add the use of nitrous oxide (known to most as laughing gas) to the lidocaine used as a local. This sedative is given to patients through a small mask that fits comfortably over your nose, quickly calming any anxiety and reducing pain sensations immensely. These effects wear off almost immediately after returning to the use of regular oxygen over the nitrous oxide.


IV Sedation or General Anesthesia in Office


As a complete surgery center, we are licensed and proficient in the use of IV sedation or general anesthesia in our own office. While we generally will only recommend the use of this sedative for complex procedures like a full-mouth reconstruction, the use of general anesthetic is safe enough to use at your choice for simple procedures like wisdom teeth removal if anxiety might be a problem.


When you undergo IV sedation in our office, a patient generally will go in and out of consciousness during the procedure. However, most patients don’t remember their procedure at all and aren’t responsive to the procedure. Even if you are technically awake, you are still basically under anesthesia and shouldn’t experience any anxiety from the procedure. One important thing to note is that the effects of anesthesia are long-lasting enough that you will need someone to drive you home after the procedure.


For Certain Instances, Sedation Can Occur in the Hospital


For some instances, including reconstructive or TMJ surgery or patients with underlying conditions, we may recommend doing the procedure in a hospital setting under the care of an anesthesiologist. However, these instances are exceptionally rare.


When you are considering oral surgery, you will have a wide range of sedation options available to you when you select the Oral and Facial Surgery Institute. Contact us today to learn more!

Top 3 Reasons for a Bone Graft

Bone grafts are one of the more common procedures that oral surgeons do because it is a relatively minor procedure that can carry with it a lot of potential benefits. Despite our image of bone as a solid and immovable material, your bones and body are constantly changing throughout our lives, often responding to changes in our bodies. One of the most frequently adjusting bones is the jawbone, and bone grafts can help improve several conditions. The technique involves a minor gum incision to access the bone and then to insert graft material, normally consisting of your own bone. The healing will encourage growth and enable your body to fill in for lost bone and soft tissue material. The question is, what are some of the main reasons this procedure is performed and how does a bone graft address those issues.


A Bone Graft Can Save Your Teeth


One of the major effects of periodontal disease, like gingivitis, is that in severe cases, it can cause bone loss. This bone loss can actually cause your teeth to become loose and to put you in danger of actually losing those teeth. However, a bone graft can actually help stop the loss of bone and actually regenerate the supply of material supporting the jaw. This will actually provide a boost to bone support, and it can be a big help in allowing you to retain your teeth.


Providing Options After Tooth Extraction


Bone grafts can also be a common part of another regular oral surgery, tooth extraction. The removal of a tooth obviously changes the landscape of the jaw and can cause other teeth to shift or become loose. Now, during tooth extraction, it’s quite normal to actually put bone graft material in the tooth socket to stabilize the jawline. This also can allow you to choose a dental implant down the road if you choose.


Ridge Augmentation – Restoring Your Natural Contour


One major concern that a lot of patients have after suffering any jaw altering side effect is how their smile looks. The feeling that your smile looks different can make many self-conscious. Thankfully, one of the major benefits of bone graft procedures is that it can be used to perform ridge augmentation. This fills in the areas around any indents and provides patients with a healthy and natural-looking smile that they can be proud of.


Bone grafts are a safe and common procedure that can help bolster teeth and return you to a natural-looking smile and can aid several periodontal ailments. Contact us today, and learn more now!

Exploring the Benefits of Teeth-In-A-Day

Are you happy with your current smile? Have you tried dentures, or are you looking for a better alternative to standard dentures? Due to genetics, disease, or trauma to the teeth, you may need a full cosmetic overhaul of your smile–but dentures? Even the thought of dentures can be overwhelming and disappointing. But there are other options available to you, even if you have been turned away for dental implants.


Dentures can be uncomfortable, ill-fitting, and bothersome, but our state-of-the-art oral surgical procedure, All-on-4 treatment, replaces those dentures with 4 perfectly fitted dental implants. This full dental restoration will restore your smile and renew your quality of life by taking the worry and discomfort out of chewing, talking, and smiling.


All-in-4 is a better alternative to dentures


All-on-4 has a myriad of welcome benefits over other dental restoration services. With our dental restoration services and our other dental services, we are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about a procedure.


No more adhesive! No more taking out your dentures to clean or soak them! No more embarrassing slippage of your dentures while you are talking.


You won’t have to worry anymore about food that slips beneath your dentures, causing discomfort and unpleasant odor.


Sleeping in dentures can cause health problems.


All-in-4 can replace yesterday’s dentures with the confident smiles of tomorrow.


Here are some of the great benefits you can expect with this one-day dental transformation:

  • All-in-4 is done in one day. Walk out with the winning smile you have always wanted.
  • Offering full-arch restoration and only 4 dental implants are used, which means less healing time for you.
  • With All-in-4 cosmetic dentistry services, you will have a lower need for bone graft surgery.
  • All-in-4 feels like your natural teeth, making it far more comfortable than dentures.
  • All-in-4 looks like your natural teeth. Cosmetically speaking, they are far superior to the often oddly-colored dentures. You can find some before and after pictures and the beautiful smiles of our satisfied clients here.
  • They won’t wear out like dentures can after 5-10 years. One procedure and you are on your way with a worry-free smile.
  • No-worry perfect fit.
  • Better for younger people who do not want the stigma of dentures, but still need cosmetic repair.
  • Advanced, state-of-the-art dental care and technology.
  • No more dentures!


All-in-4 Helps people who have been turned away

All-in-4 is perfect for those who have been turned away for other dental implant surgeries. Sometimes bone loss can make dental implant procedures more difficult for those patients. All-in-4 can be the answer for those patients. Not only is it easier to do with less bone, but it can also ensure greater stability for existing bone.


This procedure can also remove the worry over the further deterioration of your gum line due to the pressure of dentures and restore your smile. This will work even if you have already suffered bone loss or been turned away.


Consider All-in-4 for your winning smile–today!  Give us a call or set up an appointment online. We look forward to serving you.

What is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is one of the nine dental specialties currently recognized by the American Dental Association and the American College of Surgeons. Oral Maxillofacial surgeons are highly specialized surgeons that are trained to treat a wide range of disorders and jaw and tooth emergencies.

What Kinds of Situations do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Treat?

If you had your wisdom teeth removed, chances are they were removed by an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. These surgeons treat a wide variety of oral issues, as well as injuries and diseases in and around your jaw.

They aren’t the kind of specialist you’ll call in if you have a chipped tooth. But if you lose a tooth and need a replacement, you might find yourself talking to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon. They handle implants, and more extensive oral and jaw repairs and reconstructions after accidents.

You might also need an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon if you need a jaw re-alignment. They also treat tumors and cysts that develop on or near your jaw and can earn additional specializations to treat complex issues like cleft palates.

Some Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also perform a variety of cosmetic procedures, including cosmetic implants.

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also be called on to consult with other doctors for some issues. If you have sleep apnea, you might go to an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon so that they can work with your doctor as a consultant. They might also get called in to help correct and treat obstructive sleep apnea and other condition that involve your mouth and jaw.

This type of surgeon can also be critical in the treatment of certain types of oral cancers.

How are Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Trained:

Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons need to complete dental school before they can move on to their specialization. That means that they have the same skills and expertise as your dentist, plus additional training, and specialization. It also means that your Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also notice and diagnose a variety of mouth and tooth issues, just like your dentist.

Depending on why you’re seeing an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, they make recommendations for your oral health and future care.

After dental school, Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons study for another 4-6 years learning the additional surgical skills needed for the base specialty. Beyond that, Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons can also spend another 1-2 years earning additional specialties.

Their specialties include:

  • Cosmetic facial surgery
  • Craniofacial surgery and pediatric maxillofacial surgery
  • Treating craniofacial traumas

The result is that these are some of the most highly specialized and skilled surgeons out there. Other than anesthesiologists, they are the only specialists able to use all forms of sedation. They have a strong understanding of your face and jaw, as well as the inner workings of your mouth and teeth.

If you ever find yourself in the care of an Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, rest assured that you’re in good hands. Their extensive training and specialization makes them some of the most qualified people out there to help you diagnose and treat issues starting with your mouth and jaw.

Your mouth and jaw are important for your whole body’s health, so these treatments are about a lot more than just having good teeth for a family picture. Taking care of your mouth and jaw can have a huge effect on your overall health.

The Importance of Oral Cancer Screenings

The statistics are sobering. Approximately 53,000 new cases of oral cancer were reported in the U.S. in 2019 alone, resulting in the estimated death of almost 11,0000 people from all walks of life. And if you think you aren’t susceptible because you’re a non-smoker, think again. The risk for oral cancer can be just as much the result of both a genetic predisposition and poor dietary and nutrition habits as it is tobacco.


But oral cancer isn’t untreatable. In fact, the overall 5 year survival rate for patients diagnosed with either oral or oropharyngeal cancer is 65 percent, with numbers reaching as high as 84 percent if diagnosed early enough.


Those numbers alone should convince you of the importance of early oral cancer screenings. But screenings alone aren’t enough. You have to know what to watch out for specifically.


Symptoms of Oral Cancer


During an oral cancer screening, dentists may look for any number of symptoms. Some of the most common can include:


  • Consistent difficulty in chewing, speaking, swallowing, or moving the jaw.
  • Displacement in teeth or jaw.
  • Erosion, lumps, thickness, or unnatural abrasions inside the mouth.
  • Pain, soreness, and irritation inside the mouth and lips.
  • Numbness and pain when biting.
  • Reddish or white patches.
  • Spots inside the mouth which bleed continuously.


Where Does Oral Cancer Occur?


There are two forms of oral cancer. One form is within the oral cavity itself, which includes the front of your tongue, your gums, the insides of your cheeks, your lips, teeth and the roof of your mouth. The other is oropharyngeal cancer, which occurs in the throat; including the base of your tongue and your tonsils.


Am I At Risk for Oral Cancer?


Patients with the following factors have a higher susceptibility to oral cancer:


  • Aged 40+
  • Excessive drinking habits
  • Poor diet
  • Previous diagnosis of HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun
  • Tobacco usage (including smokeless tobacco and vaping.)


How Can an Early Screening Prevent Oral Cancer?


It’s important to remember that oral cancer typically won’t be diagnosed until tests are run at a lab; so, if your dentist notices any abnormality, stay calm. It may not be cancer, but a benign disorder that can be easily treated without invasive surgery.


A screening alone won’t prevent cancer. If diagnosed early enough, oral cancer can be treated successfully through any number of therapies, often with a substantially higher success rate than other forms of cancer. But most dentists and oral surgeons will agree that the best preventative care is a change in your lifestyle. Review the above listed factors and eliminate or address any particularly high-risk elements. Consult with Dr. Davis about the best course of action for you if tests come back positive. You might find that a change in habit won’t just change the health of your mouth. It will transform every single part of you.



The health of your mouth is critical. Call us today at (435) 628-1100 or visit us at Oral and Facial Surgery Institute.

When Is Jaw Surgery Recommended?

Generally, most patients look to avoid surgery of any kind. However, there are times when it is recommended to “bite the bullet” and have the procedure done. Jaw surgery, in particular, can be daunting, but a surgery done in the careful hands of the Oral & Facial Surgery Institute can provide you with a huge improvement in the quality of life. There are a few key situations in which jaw surgery is highly recommended.


TMJ Suffering


Standing for the temporomandibular joint disorder, TMJ can be an agonizing condition that can be treated with surgery as a last resort, to great effect. The condition causes pain and tenderness, and, if left unchecked, it can even cause your jaw to lock, making it difficult to open and close your mouth, as well as to chew. While most cases of TMJ can be treated nonsurgically, persistent cases can see massive benefits from surgery.




Oftentimes, jaw surgery is performed in coordination with other orthodontic treatments to correct severe issues with the jaw alignment. These can be both aesthetic and functional issues that get treated by surgery. Examples of this include an open bite, which is a space between the top and bottom teeth, even when your mouth is closed, protruding jaw and a receding lower jaw. Braces are sometimes used in the course of treatment both before and after surgery, to keep everything moving and ensure the most positive result.


Respiratory Ailments


There are even times when jaw surgery may be recommended for certain breathing conditions that can actually be a result of structural defects within the jaw. One common example is sleep apnea, a problem that plagues millions of Americans. In some instances, the breathing obstruction can be remedied by a surgical procedure that will open up the airways and allow restful sleep without the aid of a CPAP or other device. Another example is chronic mouth breathing, which can be caused by an issue with the structure of the jaw as well.


There are a plethora of possible reasons as to why one may need jaw surgery. Although it can seem like an intimidating surgery, in certain cases, the benefits of jaw surgery will make it worth it. Discussing any conditions that may be improved by such a surgery with Dr. Shawn B. Davis can help you decide if surgery is the right option for you.

How to Prevent and Treat Dry Sockets

Patients may experience dry sockets after getting a tooth extracted, but it is relatively uncommon. Only 2-5% of patients experience dry sockets. When teeth are extracted, normally a blood clot builds up to cover and protect the nerves and bones that are now exposed. In some circumstances, the blood clot can become dislodged or not completely cover the area where the tooth was extracted. When air, food, or liquid touch the bone and nerves, patients will experience pain. If you are experiencing dry sockets, then it is important to follow-up with your oral surgeon immediately. 


Unfortunately, dry sockets are one of the most painful complications of tooth extractions, but they can be easily treated. Your oral surgeon will thoroughly clean the area and they may apply gauze with a special paste that is designed to help heal the socket and eliminate pain. They may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribe some if needed. The symptoms of dry socket will go away within 24 hours of treatment, but some patients may need another follow-up. 


Some patients are at higher risk for dry socket than others. You are at a higher risk of dry socket if you: 


  • Smoke
  • Have a traumatic extraction due to an accident or infection
  • Have a wisdom tooth extracted
  • History of poor dental hygiene
  • Take birth control
  • Take any medication that inhibits blood clotting
  • Have a history of dry socket 


Patients who are even at high risk for dry socket can still prevent it by following the recommended post-op instructions given by your oral surgeon. You should use oral antibiotics or antiseptic solutions, if they are given to you, after surgery. Things patients should not do after surgery include: 


  • No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
  • No drinking from straws
  • No smoking for 72 hours
  • Avoid hot foods and beverages
  • Avoid crunchy foods (popcorn, chips, nuts, etc.)
  • Avoid alcohol consumption 
  • Limit physical activity for 5-7 days


If you are in need of tooth extraction and you are worried about the possible complications, we can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us today to set up a consultation at (435) 238-7083.

What Should I Do if I Lose or Break a Tooth?

If you damage your tooth and it is more than just a chip, you could be looking at some major problems if you don’t address it immediately. First things first, address the pain and protect any other teeth to avoid further issues.


If a break occurs:

  • Rinse your mouth out with warm water.
  • Apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
  • Use a cold compress to prevent any swelling.
  • If you can find the tooth, bring it with you to the dentist or surgeon’s office.


If you lose a tooth:

  • Do NOT pull the root of the tooth out if it is still attached.
  • Rinse the tooth off with saline or milk. Do NOT scrub the tooth.
  • Reinsert tooth back into the socket if possible, then bite down onto a gauze to stabilize the tooth.
  • If you cannot reinsert the tooth, protect it by placing it into milk or saline.
  • Go to your dentist or an oral surgeon IMMEDIATELY.


Replacement teeth should last for years at a time, so it is very important to know your options and choose a treatment plan that is right for you such as the following:

  • Implants.
  • Fixed Bridges.
  • Removable partial dentures.
  • Dentures.


Whatever option you may be leaning towards, the  Oral and Facial Surgery Institute can help you decide what is best for you. Call us today to set up a consultation at (435) 238-7083.