Wisdom teeth pain during pregnancy: What should I do?

wisdom tooth pain ChicagoA patient may experience wisdom tooth pain at any time, and that can present a significant problem for pregnant women.

In many patients, wisdom tooth pain may be resolved by surgically removing impacted wisdom teeth but expectant mothers may not have that option depending on the stage of their pregnancy.

Pregnant women can receive most dental care safely during the second trimester, so you can ask the oral surgeon if your wisdom teeth can be removed at that time. However, many pregnant women may want to avoid any surgical interventions while they are expecting. Plus, if you’ve just gotten pregnant, you’re probably not going to want to wait post-partum for relief from your wisdom tooth pain.

When a pregnant woman is not a candidate for immediate wisdom tooth extraction, the oral surgeon may be able to recommend pain management strategies and antibiotics to help the patient cope with symptoms. However, those steps may have limited success. 

Ideally, women who are planning to become pregnant should have their wisdom teeth removed before they conceive.

Ideally, women who are planning to become pregnant should have their wisdom teeth removed before they conceive. That will reduce the likelihood that a surgical intervention will be needed during pregnancy. Women who still have their wisdom teeth should schedule an evaluation with an oral surgeon before becoming pregnant to learn why extraction is recommended in their cases.  Studies demonstrate that women have an increased risk of pre-term labor, preeclampsia and lower fetal birth weight with the presence of increased oral bacteria found around impacted wisdom teeth.

In general, there are a number of potential benefits to having impacted wisdom teeth removed before they become symptomatic. In doing so, patients will reduce their risk of infection and damage to surrounding teeth, in addition to eliminating a possible source of discomfort.

Nonetheless, wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure associated with some risks, so patients should discuss those risks with their oral surgeon before moving forward with the procedure. It’s important for patients to be well-informed about possible outcomes of the intervention.

If you develop wisdom tooth pain while you are pregnant, schedule an evaluation with our skilled team at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio to learn about what steps you can safely take to alleviate the discomfort.

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Why Severe Life-Threatening Infection can Cause Delay in Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth pain often indicates an infection, and that can create problems if a patient needs an immediate extraction. However, only if severe life-threatening infection is present, it may be necessary to delay wisdom tooth removal until the systemic infection and any airway compromise is treated.

When undergoing any surgery, including wisdom teeth extraction, the patient must be healthy enough to tolerate the surgery. If the surgeon moves forward with the procedure while severe systemic infection is present, and there is an emergency airway compromise where a patient can not breath adequately, then this could lead to death if the airway is not treated first in sequence and the systemic infection as well.  Keep in mind though, that the curative treatment of an infection is removing the SOURCE of the infection, which is the abscessed tooth in this case. 

When undergoing any surgery, including wisdom teeth extraction, the patient must be healthy enough to tolerate the surgery.

If such a severe infection is present, the patient will need an emegency tracheostomy, aggressive IV antibiotics, multiple incision and drainage areas in the operating room as well as hospital admission.  Once the systemic infection is brought under control and the airway has been secured the patient will need to first complete a course of antibiotics, lasting for at least a week or two, before they can have the wisdom teeth removed.

Understandably, patients want an immediate resolution to the problem when they are experiencing significant discomfort. To prevent scenarios such as this from occurring, many patients prefer to have an oral surgeon remove their wisdom teeth before any symptoms such as wisdom tooth pain or swelling develop.

The oral surgeon can examine the bone structure via x-ray to determine if the teeth are impacted or the likelihood that they could become problematic at some point. In a significant number of patients, the wisdom teeth do become impacted because the jaw is too small for them to erupt properly.

Wisdom teeth removal is a fairly common and routine dental surgery. It is typically performed in an outpatient setting, often an oral surgeon’s office, and most patients recover after a few days.

Before performing the wisdom tooth extraction, your oral surgeon will gather a medical history to identify any other conditions that could pose a problem during the surgery or your recovery period. The oral surgeon will also review any risks and their likelihood with you prior to the procedure.

Additionally, if you are prone to infections to begin with, your oral surgeon may recommend other prophylactic measures to reduce your risk of a post-operative infection. Be sure to discuss any concerns in this area with the oral surgeon.

Patients who want to avoid facing a delay in wisdom tooth extraction due to infection may want to be more proactive with the procedure. Contact our skilled team at Chicago’s best dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, to learn more about your options.

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Will a wisdom tooth abscess go away on its own?

wisdom tooth abscessAbscesses are among the many problems that can plague impacted wisdom teeth. Because those third molars are located at the back of the mouth, it’s very difficult to keep the vicinity clear of bacteria.

A wisdom tooth abscess will develop when an infection arises in the area between the tooth and the gums or if the infection reaches the tooth’s inner core. Abscesses in the wisdom teeth, as well as other teeth, are of particular concern because the bacteria can easily access the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, posing significant health risks for the patient.

Abscesses typically don’t resolve on their own. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent further negative outcomes for the patient’s oral health and overall well-being.

If an abscess is present in the wisdom tooth, the only course of treatment would be to extract the tooth. The wisdom teeth have minimal function for modern humans, so they can be removed without any impact to the smile’s appearance and function.

Many patients don’t want to wait for a problem like a wisdom tooth abscess or some other issue to occur before having their wisdom teeth removed. It is quite common for patients to choose to have their wisdom teeth extracted before they become symptomatic.  This is actually the smart thing to do because

Wisdom tooth extraction is generally performed in an outpatient setting, and most patients resume their normal routines within a matter of days.

As with any oral surgery, there are some risks with wisdom tooth extraction, and patients should be sure to discuss any concerns with their oral surgeon in advance of the procedure. Patients should also work with their oral surgeon to develop a plan to reduce their risk of post-operative complications.

If you are showing signs of a wisdom tooth abscess, such as discomfort and swelling at the rear of the mouth, consult with Chicago’s dual degreed oral and maxillofacial surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio to see when extraction is recommended.

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On May 9th, 2014, posted in: wisdom tooth abscess by


Wisdom Teeth Removal: What are post-extraction considerations?

If you are planning a trip to the oral surgeon for the removal of your wisdom teeth, you can make the experience a little less unnerving by learning the details of the procedure in advance. In particular, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of what you should expect during the recovery process following your surgery.

Most patients are understandably concerned about the days and hours after the wisdom teeth are removed. Will there be pain? Will you be able to eat? When can you return to school or work? The goals after wisdom teeth surgery are important to the patient and just as important to the oral surgeon:

  • Minimize and manage pain throughout the healing process
  • Minimize swelling post-operatively (will also help reduce pain)
  • Return to a nutritious diet as quickly as possible
  • Return to work, school, and other daily responsibilities as quickly as possible

You will be provided with a clear list of post-extraction instructions after your surgery and they can be downloaded as a pdf online within the “Patient Resources” section on our website www.orasurgery.com. Understanding and adhering to these guidelines will be in your best interest in terms of your personal comfort and also your health.

According to the type of anesthesia that you have selected, you might be advised to avoid driving or working for at least 24 hours, and you should use this time to just relax. It is best to avoid activities that are strenuous or those that require much movement, since conserving your energy will enable the body to begin healing right away. 

It is best to avoid activities that are strenuous or those that require much movement, since conserving your energy will enable the body to begin healing right away.

You should avoid stress and strain of any type, including bending over or leaning forward, as this can increase the blood flow and pressure to the head, which can lead to excessive bleeding where the teeth have been removed.

A cold compress and certain medications (given intravenously during the surgery and also as pills after the surgery) will help to reduce swelling or inflammation as well as pain. Eating foods that are soft in texture will ensure that you receive enough nourishment without irritating the surgical sites.

Lastly, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes should be completely avoided for several days to reduce the risk of infection and prolonged bleeding.

For more advice on how to care for yourself after your wisdom teeth removal, contact our downtown Chicago dental surgery  office – ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 today.

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On April 21st, 2014, posted in: oral surgeon by

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What is the Treatment for a Wisdom Tooth Abscess?

wisdom tooth abscessAn infection or abscess can involve any tooth in the mouth. It can occur in a mild form with symptoms that are barely noticeable, or it can present with severe swelling and pain that will require immediate attention. It is important to understand that, while the body may be able to fight off an infection for a short period of time, professional treatment is necessary as soon as possible to prevent complications that are far more serious.

The treatment for an abscessed tooth can vary according to the relative value of the affected tooth. For example, a wisdom tooth abscess is best treated with an extraction since it is not essential to your ability to chew or speak.

Most wisdom teeth are located so far behind the last molar that they cannot fit together with the rest of the teeth. Some wisdom teeth are unable to completely break through the gum tissue and bone, making them non-functional and not useful and dangerous to the health of your neighboring teeth.  Others are almost impossible to keep clean, and they instead attract food and plaque that can trigger a long-term infection.

For a short while, an abscess might be controlled through the use of antibiotics. Sometimes a surgical incision and drainage procedure needs to be undertaken to prevent spread of an abscess.  Unfortunately this is not a curative treatment.  Once the course of antibiotics has been completed, the infection will return once again. For an essential tooth, such as a tooth that is used for chewing or for the support of the neighboring teeth, a root canal treatment and a dental crown is often recommended to fully resolve the problem. However, it isn’t typically wise to attempt to restore a nonfunctioning or poorly positioned wisdom tooth. Instead, the present infection can be resolved and future infections can be prevented by simply having the wisdom tooth removed.

A wisdom tooth abscess isn’t treatable at home, and there is no way to predict the exact moment that the problem will become unbearable. A professional dental examination is necessary for a proper diagnosis of the problem. To schedule yours, contact the wisdom tooth expert, Steven Koos DDS, MD, for an appointment today.

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On April 7th, 2014, posted in: wisdom tooth abscess by


Harvesting Dental Stem Cells: What are the benefits?

Stem cells are unique in the body, as they can be manipulated to develop into any type or category of cell. When patients have access to their own stem cells, those cells can potentially be used in the future to treat various types of disease. Ongoing advances in scientific research are increasing the possibilities for using stem cells to treat different conditions.

Fortunately, patients have access to a relatively easy method for capturing their stem cells. When teeth are removed in an oral surgery procedure, their pulp often provide a rich source of stem cells. Those cells can be removed from the teeth and specially stored in a system called StemSave so that patients can access them at a later time if a need develops.

In particular, the large wisdom teeth contain a significant number of stem cells. Other teeth that may serve as a plentiful source of stem cells include baby teeth or teeth that are removed for orthodontic treatment. 

When teeth are removed in an oral surgery procedure, their pulp often provide a rich source of stem cells.

The process of harvesting and storing the stem cells requires no additional effort or time on the patient’s part. After the oral surgeon removes the tooth, the surgeon will place those cells in the StemSave storage receptacle and send them to be extracted, processed and then stored for life as long as the patient is in compliance with the contract’s requirements, including keeping his or her account current.

If a parent wishes to preserve stem cells from a child’s baby tooth, the parent would need to proactively make arrangements to remove the baby tooth in enough time to utilize viable stem cells.

When patients choose to have their dental stem cells harvested, they gain additional benefits beyond merely protecting themselves against future diseases. Because the stem cells came from the patient’s own body, the risk of rejection is much, much lower than it would be with cells from an external source.

Your stem cells can be tremendously valuable, and StemSave offers a safe, affordable method for preserving those stem cells for future use. If you are planning for a surgical tooth extraction, discuss this possibility with your oral surgeon.

Contact Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, for additional information.

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How will I know if I will need sedation during my dental procedure?

sedation for tooth extractionWhen planning to have your wisdom teeth removed or some other type of oral surgery, you have a number of considerations as a patient. One that often gets top priority is comfort during the procedure.

To provide the best experience for the patient, most oral surgeons will recommend some form of sedation for tooth extraction. General anesthesia, otherwise known as deep sedation, is the most common choice of patients having oral surgery.

Sedation/anesthesia are available in varying degrees. Depending on the specific procedure being performed, some patients may need only moderate intravenous sedation while others may require deeper sedation or general anesthesia. The complexity of the procedure, along with the patient’s own preferences, can determine which method will be most appropriate, and the oral surgeon will advise you of your options during the treatment planning process.

Moderate sedation for tooth extraction or some other oral surgery procedure can be achieved by delivering medications intravenously for a nearly instantaneous effect. The sedative medications help patients achieve a state of deep relaxation that feels similar to sleep, although patients do remain somewhat conscious and able to respond to the surgeon’s commands throughout the procedure.

The medications involved in general anesthesia are also usually administered intravenously in this outpatient setting. With general anesthesia, the patient does lose consciousness, and the airway must be maintained artificially. However, general anesthesia is mandatory for complex procedures that are expected to take a significant amount of time.

Moderate IV sedatives and general anesthesia require the patient to fast for 6-8 hours before the scheduled procedure. Be sure to discuss any preparations you must make with your oral surgeon before the appointment.

Safety is a main concern for patients receiving sedation or anesthesia. While patients are under sedation, the oral surgeon and the rest of the surgical team will closely monitor the patient’s vital signs for any signs of distress. Your oral surgeon will also discuss any risks of sedation and anesthesia with you before the procedure.

Most oral surgery patients take advantage of moderate sedation or general anesthesia for a more comfortable experience. If you have questions about whether sedation or anesthesia will be needed for your procedure, discuss this issue with our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons at your consultation. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your visit.

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What are pre-extraction considerations?

To undergo a surgical tooth extraction, as is the case with any oral surgery, a patient must meet certain requirements related to both their oral health and their overall health.

For example, if you are planning to have your wisdom teeth removed, your case will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure that it is safe for you to undergo the surgery and accompanying anesthesia. Your oral and maxillofacial surgeon also will gather radiographic data about the location of the teeth to plan the surgery.

Your oral surgeon will also want to minimize your risks of post-operative complications, so any factors that could create problems, such as dry mouth or the presence of extensive oral bacteria, should be addressed prior to surgery.

Your overall health can also affect your suitability for wisdom tooth extraction. For example, patients who take certain medications, like blood thinners, may need to discontinue those medications for a few days prior to the procedure. Your oral surgeon will advise you if this is necessary.

Certain patients taking bisphosphonate medications may need to have a “drug holiday” from these medications before any surgery is performed.

Pregnancy status also plays a role when and whether surgery can be performed and if a form of anesthesia is utilized.

Other medical treatments can also influence tooth extraction. Radiation treatment for head and neck cancers may weaken the jawbone and affect your oral surgeon’s approach to the extraction, or the surgeon could choose to delay the extraction until additional hyperbaric oxygen treatment is complete. If possible, the surgeon may pursue tooth extraction before a patient begins chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

Infections or other short-term illnesses outside of the mouth can also affect the timing of your tooth extraction. If you have a fever or a cold, upper respiratory infection, you may need to delay the procedure due to anesthesia risks.

To minimize your risk of complications following tooth extraction, it’s important to be sure that you are healthy enough to undergo the procedure. Disclose all of your health concerns to your oral surgeon in advance so that you and the surgeon can plan adequately for tooth extraction.

If you are considering a surgical tooth extraction, or any other oral surgery procedure, contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 and schedule your informative consultation today.

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On February 19th, 2014, posted in: tooth extraction by

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Tips for Toothaches

toothache ChicagoToothaches can be quite disruptive to your routine. The pain can affect your ability to concentrate on your work, enjoy time with family and friends and even eat a simple meal.

As such, patients tend to seek dental care quickly when suffering from a toothache so that they can get relief.

The strategy used in treating a toothache will depend on the underlying cause of the problem. A toothache can have any number of causes. Your tooth may be affected by advanced decay or an internal infection or abscess that can cause pain. Impacted wisdom teeth are another potential cause for discomfort. An injury to the tooth may be at fault as well.

If you’re experiencing a toothache, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist to be evaluated to determine a cause of the toothache. The results will then suggest the most appropriate intervention and possible referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

For instance, a toothache may indicate that a tooth is so severely damaged that you may be referred to an oral surgeon to have it extracted. Hopefully this can be avoided, but in some cases it is necessary to preserve the patient’s oral health and prevent further tooth loss or eradicate infection.  If you must have a tooth extracted, ask the oral surgeon if you qualify for dental implants to replace the missing tooth.

If your dentist is not able to see you immediately, here are some tips that can help you to cope with any discomfort you may be experiencing as a result of your toothache.

  • Manage pain with over-the-counter painkillers, which should be effective as a short-term solution.  NSAIDs are best.
  • Use an icepack to numb the area around the tooth. You may want to alternate the cold with a hot compress for additional relief.
  • If the pain is along the gumline, an antiseptic gel or even a salt water rinse may help to eliminate some oral bacteria, which may be contributing to pain.
  • Avoid consuming foods and beverages that are very hot or very cold.
  • Pharmacies will have clove medicine, numbing agents, and temporary dental fillers to cover and treat an exposed tooth.

If these tactics are ineffective, the pain is unbearable, and no dentist is available, you may want to seek care at an Urgent Care Center for pain relief. You will still be referred to a specialist, like an oral surgeon, for follow-up care.

Don’t let a toothache drag you down. Seek dental care quickly to address the problem and use self-care techniques in the interim.

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On February 5th, 2014, posted in: toothache by

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Ask About your Oral Surgeon’s In-Depth Anesthesia Certification for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

anesthesia for tooth extractionThe next time that you book an appointment with your oral surgeon for any procedure that requires anesthesia for tooth extraction, take a moment to ask about clinical qualifications and certifications. Your questions won’t be viewed as suspicious or untrusting. In fact, you’ll be opening the door to learning all about the wealth of knowledge, experience, and training that make your oral surgeon such a unique and well-rounded dental surgical expert.

You require anesthesia in order to have your wisdom teeth removed, and you should know that an oral maxillofacial surgeon can do more than simply numb the teeth and gums. A surgeon that specializes in mouth, jaw, and facial surgery has been well-trained in every aspect of the administration of anesthesia. This not only includes dispensing controlled doses of medications, but also the management of any medical emergencies that may occur while you are being treated.

Though its best if the need never arises, you should feel relieved in knowing that your oral surgeon is prepared to manage intravenous lines, endotracheal intubation, and airway maintenance during your procedure. To safeguard your health, ask about additional certifications such as basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, advanced trauma life support, and pediatric life support. Sedation and anesthesia are always safely administered, which greatly reduces the need for emergency services in the first place.

This preparation and knowledge are based upon a complete dental degree, along with a minimum of four years of on-site training in a residency program for surgeons in a hospital-based setting. During the hospital residency, surgeons will actively participate in all facets of anesthesia administration as an anesthesia resident.

A look at your oral surgeon’s professional affiliations will provide you with additional insight regarding credentials and experience in anesthesia for tooth extraction. Active participation with organizations such as the American Society of Dental Anesthesiology (ASDA) and certification by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) are clues that your surgeon and the staff are up to date and proficient in the highest standards of care.

Contact the office of Steven Koos DDS, MD for an appointment today to learn more about the safety of anesthesia for your wisdom teeth extraction.

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