Wisdom Tooth Pain: When should I visit an oral surgeon?

toothache ChicagoA toothache is always cause for concern for a patient. Not only is the situation uncomfortable, but it can also indicate an oral health problem. This is especially true when the pain is in the vicinity of the wisdom teeth.

An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain as it continues to attempt to erupt through the gums. Patients who experience this phenomenon should consult with an oral surgeon to see if extraction is recommended.

The wisdom teeth are very large, which is why they’re the most likely teeth in the mouth to become impacted. Because of the bone surrounding an impacted wisdom tooth, extraction is likely to require a procedure in which the oral surgeon excises some of that bone in order to access the tooth and remove it.

Of course, pain isn’t the only potential complication that can be caused by impacted wisdom teeth. Such teeth are also at greater risk for developing cysts or tumors. Because it’s so difficult to keep the rearmost portion of the mouth adequately clean, impacted wisdom teeth also are more susceptible to infections and abscesses when bacteria collect in the area.

While signs of a problem – like wisdom tooth pain – certainly warrant professional attention, many patients will explore treatments at an earlier stage. To avoid those issues in the first place, those patients will explore wisdom tooth extraction before they even develop symptoms if there’s sufficient evidence that those teeth are indeed impacted.

Additionally, it’s advisable for patients to pursue wisdom tooth extraction earlier rather than later. The procedure is easier in patients who are in their late teens or mid-twenties. This is another compelling reason to look into extraction before you develop symptoms. A surgeon can examine a relatively young patient and determine whether the wisdom teeth are impacted and extraction may be recommended.

If you develop tooth pain at the rear of your mouth, schedule an evaluation at our office to determine whether an impacted wisdom tooth is at fault. Our expert practitioners can make recommendations for the treatment that is most appropriate for your case. For more information, contact  ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000.

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Wisdom Teeth Removal: What can I eat after the procedure?

Chicago oral surgeonPatients who have their wisdom teeth removed often need to adjust their normal routines for a brief time after the procedure. In particular, you are likely to find that you will need to modify your diet for a few days as you begin to heal.

During this time, it’s best to avoid foods that are crunchy or difficult to chew. You may find it uncomfortable to eat these foods, and they can disrupt the healing process as well.   Good rules to follow for the first week post tooth extraction are, you should not be eating any foods that you can hear while chewing, and you should not be eating any foods that you need to cut with a knife.

Your oral surgeon will give you more thorough, specific instructions, but here is a listing of some of the foods that you may be able to eat after wisdom tooth extraction: ice cream, milkshakes, smoothies, mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, pasta dishes, scrambled eggs and instant oatmeal.

Soups can also be a good choice for patients who have just had their wisdom teeth removed, but ask your oral surgeon if you have any restrictions on eating very hot foods.

Try to enjoy as much variety in your foods as possible. If you eat only one or two things during this time period, you may get tired of them and not want to eat them in the future as well as not receive a balanced nutritional intake.

In addition to dietary changes, your oral surgeon may give you other post-operative instructions. You may need to refrain from strenuous, highly aerobic activity.  You may also need to add a gentle prescription mouth rinse to keep your mouth clean or need to take a prophylactic antibiotic, for example. Follow these instructions closely to ensure as smooth a healing process as possible.

The surgeon will also give you a listing of the signs of complications that can occur after wisdom tooth extraction. If you develop any of these symptoms, contact our office as soon as possible so that we can determine how to best address the issue.

Patients who have their wisdom teeth removed will need to eat primarily softer foods for the first week after the surgery. Contact our office to speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members for some options if you have any questions about what you can eat.

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On July 2nd, 2015, posted in: oral surgeon by

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Why is it typically more difficult to remove wisdom teeth?

wisdom tooth removal ChicagoWisdom tooth removal often requires a surgical procedure, but some patients may not understand why that is necessary when other teeth can just be extracted in a simple, straightforward dental procedure.

The answer is that the wisdom teeth (also known as the third molars) often become impacted because there’s not enough room in the patient’s jaw for them to erupt properly. Not only are the third molars the largest teeth in our mouths, the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

While other teeth may become impacted, the third molars are the most likely to do so and therefore the most likely teeth to require a surgical extraction. Impacted wisdom tooth removal may also necessitate the removal of bone in order to expose the entire tooth before it can be removed, which presents another complicating factor.

Because impacted wisdom teeth can become problematic in a number of ways, potentially causing discomfort and contributing to oral health issues, patients opt for wisdom tooth removal as a preventive measure.

The first step in this process is consulting with an oral surgeon, who can use advanced medical radiography to determine whether the wisdom teeth are actually impacted. If they are, the oral surgeon can recommend the most appropriate treatment.

When considering the timing of the procedure, it’s also important to take the patient’s age into account. It’s preferable to perform wisdom teeth extraction in patients who are younger than 25 years old. The roots of the third molars are not as long in younger patients, so it is usually easier to remove the teeth. Younger patients also recuperate more quickly and are less likely to have complications, although those issues can arise in patients of any age.

If it’s time to have your wisdom teeth removed, contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, to schedule an initial evaluation. Call 312-328-9000 to reserve an appointment with our knowledgeable and experienced oral surgeon.

 

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Wisdom Teeth: Should they stay or should they go?

wisdom tooth ChicagoMany patients choose to have impacted wisdom teeth removed to prevent the numerous problems that can develop. However, this is an individual decision, and it’s important to get appropriate professional guidance in making that decision.

If you are wondering whether you should have your wisdom teeth removed, you should consult with an oral surgeon who can make recommendations for your case.

At the initial appointment, the oral surgeon will examine your teeth and jaw and take x-rays to determine if the third molars are impacted or may become impacted.

Based on that assessment, the surgeon may recommend moving forward with wisdom tooth removal. Alternatively, the patient may be told that extraction may not be necessary if it appears that the wisdom teeth can erupt normally. 

There are some considerations related to the timing of wisdom tooth extraction…

There are some considerations related to the timing of wisdom tooth extraction as well. It’s generally recommended that people who decide to move forward with the procedure have it done by age 25. The roots are shorter and less entrenched in younger patients, making it easier to remove the third molars. Additionally, younger patients tend to bounce back more quickly after extraction.

Having your wisdom teeth removed can help to reduce your risk of a number of negative outcomes, such as abscesses, cysts or tumors. Neighboring teeth are usually also jeopardized by impacted wisdom teeth, as it is difficult to keep the area clear of bacteria and the other teeth may become more susceptible to decay and pressure resorption – both frequently leading to the need of extraction not just the wisdom teeth, but also their damaged neighbors.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to determine when such problems will develop in impacted wisdom teeth, which is why so many patients opt for extraction as a preventive measure.

If you are in your late teens or early twenties and you still have your wisdom teeth, contact our office to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Koos. Our team of dental specialists can give you insight into whether extraction is necessary. Don’t hesitate to ask us any questions you may have or discuss any concerns with us. Call 312-328-9000 today to schedule your visit.

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How soon can I return to school or work after my wisdom tooth extraction?

wisdom teeth ChicagoWhen wisdom teeth removal is recommended, patients want to know what to expect after the surgery. Although it is an outpatient procedure, the removal of these third molars does require a certain amount of time for recovery. The timing of returning to school or work is a top concern for many patients.

Most patients can go back to the classroom or the office in 3-4 days, unless complications develop or your case is particularly difficult. Your oral surgeon can give you a more specific estimate of when you can resume your normal routine. You may need to ease back into some activities a little more slowly. For example, you may be able to return to an office job in 2-3 days but unable to resume vigorous exercise for several more days.

In order to maximize your chances of an uneventful recovery, it’s important to closely follow the post-operative instructions that your oral surgeon provided. For example, drinking through straws after your wisdom teeth are removed increases your risk of developing a painful condition known as dry sockets. So, you should avoid drinking straws until the surgeon advises you that you can safely use them again. Smoking also increases your risk of complications, so give up that habit at least until your healing is complete (and ideally forever!) 

In order to maximize your chances of an uneventful recovery, it’s important to closely follow the post-operative instructions that your oral surgeon provided.

Take any prescribed medications, such as painkillers and prophylactic antibiotics, as directed, and follow the oral surgeon’s recommendations on alterations to your diet, such as eating softer foods for the first few days. You should also use appropriate cleaning techniques as instructed to limit the bacteria in the area and keep your mouth clean in general after the surgery.

It’s also important for the patient to know the signs of post-surgical complications so that follow-up care can be obtained when necessary. Excessive bleeding, fever or persistent swelling all may indicate a problem that warrants professional attention. The surgical team will give you a list of such symptoms to monitor.

When preparing for wisdom tooth extraction, be sure that you understand your surgeon’s instructions on what to do after the procedure, including when you can return to work or school. Our team of specialists at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio can answer any questions you may have about this process. Call our office at 312-328-9000 today to schedule your visit.

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Wisdom Teeth Removal: Stop Health Problems Before They Start

Many patients choose to have impacted wisdom teeth extracted even if they’re not symptomatic yet. This preventive step can help patients avoid the many negative oral health outcomes that are associated with impacted third molars.

Certain issues, such as a wisdom tooth abscess, can have serious implications for your oral health and your overall health. The bacteria found in an abscess, which is an infection that develops in a tooth’s root or between the gums and the root, can easily access the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. This process introduces the risk of bacteremia and possibly even sepsis in rare instances, which can be fatal.

The wisdom teeth are particularly prone to such infections because their location makes it difficult to keep the area free from bacteria. Noticeable symptoms of an abscessed wisdom tooth can include pus, swelling, an odor in the area and a fever. 

The wisdom teeth are particularly prone to such infections because their location makes it difficult to keep the area free from bacteria.

The treatment for a wisdom tooth abscess is extraction, and incision and drainage as the wisdom teeth typically are not necessary for modern humans. However, if an oral surgeon determines that your wisdom teeth are impacted, extraction will be recommended even before you develop such issues.

Avoiding wisdom teeth abscesses is just one reason that patients may consult with an oral surgeon about wisdom tooth extraction.

An impacted wisdom tooth can create other problems in your mouth, too. The impacted teeth will continue to attempt to emerge, which can damage surrounding teeth and push them out of their correct positions, potentially throwing the entire smile out of alignment. Wisdom teeth also may develop cysts or tumors when they are unable to erupt properly.

The timing of wisdom tooth extraction is based on other considerations, as well. For example, patients who do choose elective extraction are advised to schedule the procedure before their mid-twenties. The surgery is less complex in younger patients, who also recuperate more quickly.

Impacted wisdom teeth can have far-reaching effects for your health. If you still have your wisdom teeth, consult with our dental specialists at at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio to see if extraction is recommended, and weigh the risks and benefits of having this procedure. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your visit.

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On December 30th, 2014, posted in: wisdom tooth abscess by

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Why is it important to have impacted wisdom teeth diagnosed and treated?

wisdom tooth ChicagoAn impacted wisdom tooth has the potential to have serious problematic consequences for your oral health, but patients may not realize that the tooth is impacted until problems have already developed. When an oral surgeon diagnoses impacted wisdom teeth and treats the condition, the patient can avoid troublesome issues like discomfort, decay, infection and abscess, among other concerns.

Most patients’ jaws are too small to accommodate the large wisdom teeth, which in turn are unable to erupt properly. Because they are at the rear of the jaw and it is difficult, if not impossible to keep them clean, these teeth collect bacteria that can cause decay and infection. Wisdom teeth are also particularly susceptible to developing abscesses, cysts and tumors. 

Although the teeth become impacted, that doesn’t stop them from trying to emerge.

Although the teeth become impacted, that doesn’t stop them from trying to emerge. As they attempt to erupt, they can shift other teeth out of alignment, potentially undoing years of orthodontic treatment. That process can also cause discomfort for the patient.

By using advanced medical radiography, an oral surgeon can determine whether a wisdom tooth is impacted as early as mid- to late-adolescence. It’s also important to note that it’s easier to remove the wisdom teeth in patients in their late teens or early 20s because the roots are shorter and the attachment between the root and bone is weaker in younger patients.

Additionally, younger patients tend to recuperate from the wisdom tooth extraction procedure more quickly than do their older counterparts. This is another motivating factor to get an early diagnosis and treatment for impacted wisdom teeth.

Although some patients may have wisdom teeth that come in properly, most people end up with impacted or malerupted wisdom teeth, which can cause problems for the patient. If you are in your late teens or early twenties and have not undergone wisdom tooth extraction, you should consider an evaluation to determine whether the wisdom teeth are impacted and if removing them is recommended.

To schedule your professional consultation, contact the wisdom tooth experts at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio today.

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On November 19th, 2014, posted in: wisdom tooth by

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Tips to Improve Your Chances of A Smooth Recovery After Wisdom Teeth Removal

oral surgery ChicagoAs is the case with any oral and maxillofacial surgery, wisdom teeth extraction requires a certain period of healing, and the patient may face the risk of post-operative complications that can extend the recovery timeline. Your oral surgeon can give you some suggestions on steps that you can take to reduce the risk of negative outcomes following your surgery.

Infection is a significant risk following any oral surgery procedure like wisdom tooth extraction, so it’s important to keep your mouth clean after surgery. In the first few days, you may need to make some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine and techniques, especially at the extraction site. Be sure to follow your oral surgeon’s instructions.  Dr. Koos discharges patients with a hydrocolloid wound dressing which soothes the socket, promotes healing and reduces the bacterial concentration at the surgical site. 

Your oral surgeon can give you some suggestions on steps that you can take to reduce the risk of negative outcomes following your surgery.

Your oral surgeon may also prescribe a preventive course of antibiotics as an additional measure to reduce your risk of post-operative infection. The surgeon may have other recommendations to decrease the likelihood of infection, so be sure to discuss these in one of your appointments prior to the surgery.

Dry sockets are another potential post-operative complication following wisdom teeth removal, and this painful condition is actually the most common issue that patients develop after wisdom tooth extraction, although the incidence of dry socket is only about 10-15%.

Dry sockets occur when the blood clot that provides a protective layer over the extraction site either fails to form or is dislodged prematurely and fails to reform. Patients are advised to avoid engaging in activities that could disrupt the formation or stability of the clot, such as drinking through straws or smoking. Your oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions should also cover some other preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of dry sockets.

In addition to knowing what you need to do to prevent issues following wisdom tooth extraction, it’s also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can indicate a problem that warrants follow-up with your surgeon. Excessive and/or persistent bleeding more than 24 hours after the procedure needs professional attention, as do signs of infection, such as a fever or pus at that extraction site. Your surgeon will give you a list of the potentially problematic symptoms, and you can follow up if you experience any of those.

Most patients are able to resume their normal routines within a week of wisdom teeth extraction if all goes well with the procedure and the subsequent healing period. Be sure that you thoroughly understand your oral surgeon’s instructions for your recovery period and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask any questions that you may have.

For more information, contact the Chicago oral & maxillofacial surgery office of the wisdom tooth expert, Dr. Steven Koos, DDS, MD, and schedule your professional consultation today.

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Should I have my wisdom teeth removed before orthodontic treatment?

oral surgery ChicagoWisdom tooth extraction is one of the most commonly performed oral surgery procedures, and most patients will have impacted wisdom teeth removed before age 25. There are other factors that can influence the timing of wisdom tooth extraction, such as planned orthodontic treatment.

Each patient is unique, and your orthodontist may tell you whether you should have your wisdom teeth removed prior to treatment or if you can wait until afterward.  Some even prefer them to be extracted during treatment.

You can also schedule an evaluation with an oral surgeon who can determine whether wisdom tooth removal is necessary and can advise on the timing of the procedure. In fact, orthodontists and oral surgeons frequently communicate with each other about patients’ cases.

Although each patient should be evaluated individually to determine the most appropriate timing of wisdom tooth extraction, there are some common factors that can influence that decision.

If it appears that the wisdom teeth may interfere with the orthodontic treatment or cause problems immediately after treatment, the patient may be advised to have the wisdom teeth removed in advance.

The patient’s age may also be a consideration. For example, wisdom teeth extraction may be recommended prior to orthodontics in patients who are in their late teens or early twenties, while younger patients may be able to wait for the procedure.

Patients who choose to wait until after orthodontic treatment is complete to have impacted wisdom teeth removed should not let too much time lapse before scheduling the oral surgery.

Impacted wisdom teeth will continue to attempt to push through the gums which can, in turn, undo the results of your orthodontic treatment. After successfully straightening their smiles, the last thing patients want to do is go back for a second round of braces to fix the damage done by erupting or impacted wisdom teeth.

The decision on timing of wisdom tooth extraction in conjunction with orthodontic treatment is made on a case-by-case basis, and the orthodontist and surgeon can collaborate on a treatment plan that best meets your needs.

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My wisdom teeth aren’t bothering me. Why should I have them removed?

wisdom tooth ChicagoSome patients think that they don’t need to have their wisdom teeth removed if they’re not experiencing any problematic symptoms like discomfort or bleeding. Understandably, it can be difficult for a patient to consider a surgical procedure for an issue that is not yet outwardly bothersome (even though insidious issues are developing). A similar analogy would be not to treat hypertension because no outward symptoms of headaches, renal disease, stroke or cardiac consequences haven’t shown themselves yet.

Nonetheless, an impacted wisdom tooth has the real potential to cause significant problems for patients. Impacted wisdom teeth are more susceptible to abscesses, and they can develop tumors or cysts as well. These large third molars will continue to try to push through the gums even if there’s not enough room in the jaw for them. That can lead to discomfort, and it creates the potential to knock the surrounding teeth out of alignment. They will lead to cavities and eventual loss of neighboring teeth due to resorption from pressure or decay.

In the vast majority of patients, the wisdom teeth will become impacted because the modern human jaw is too small to accommodate them. To avoid such outcomes, many patients will choose to pursue wisdom tooth extraction before they become symptomatic.

It is preferable to have an oral surgeon remove your wisdom teeth before you reach age 25. The wisdom teeth can be removed more easily in younger patients, who also recover more quickly following the procedure.
Although older patients have their wisdom teeth removed safely, they do face a greater statistical risk of complications overall. This can be another motivating factor to schedule a wisdom tooth extraction even if the wisdom teeth are not causing problems for you right at this moment.

The oral surgeon will thoroughly evaluate your case prior to performing the extraction to determine whether your wisdom teeth should be extracted and whether you are healthy enough to tolerate the procedure. If there are any concerns about risks associated with surgery, the oral surgeon will discuss them with you in advance.

Ultimately, it is the patient’s choice whether to have the wisdom teeth extracted when no symptoms are present, however all the literature suggests to remove them prophylactically. When making that decision, discuss the pros and cons of the treatment with our dual degree oral surgeon, who is both a physician and dental surgeon so that you can make an informed choice.

For more information on wisdom tooth extraction, contact the office of Steven Koos DDS, MD, to reserve your appointment today.

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