How can I avoid dry socket after wisdom tooth removal?

Having a wisdom tooth removed can be an unnerving experience. The procedure is performed almost routinely during the late teens and early twenties with predictable results. Still, the wisdom teeth have gained a reputation for being complicated and painful, based on some bad experiences elsewhere, a thought that makes some dental patients understandably apprehensive.

To relieve your anxiety and put your busy thoughts to rest, your Chicago oral surgeon will provide you with valuable treatment information prior to the start of the procedure. This information will prepare you for what you should expect from start to finish, including details on how to prevent post-operative complications. 

Dry socket is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable complications that can develop following the extraction of a wisdom tooth, but it can generally be avoided when you understand the cause of the condition and then follow these steps for prevention.

Dry socket is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable complications that can develop following the extraction of a wisdom tooth, but it can generally be avoided when you understand the cause of the condition and then follow these steps for prevention.

After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot must form within the empty tooth socket in order to start the healing process. The blood clot serves as a layer of protection for the underlying bone and nerve tissue. Without that protection, you are likely to suffer consequences such as infection and significant pain for several days or weeks.   Sometimes, the blood clot fails to form through no fault of your own, but often times you can avoid any problems by protecting the extraction site in the first hours and days after surgery.

Smoking is a prime risk factor for dry socket, and dragging on cigarettes or cigars can dislodge a fragile blood clot. Even spitting or drinking through a straw can create enough suction to disrupt the healing process! There are also some factors that can reduce the body’s ability to form a blood clot in the first place, such as the use of tobacco products and certain medications including birth control pills.

Our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons will provide you with tips for eating, drinking, and cleaning your mouth as gently as possible until adequate healing has taken place. Additionally, our oral and maxillofacial surgeons have several medicated remedies that relieve the discomfort caused by fibrinolytic alveolitis – dry socket.  Learn more about what to expect after having your wisdom teeth extracted by calling ORA® at 312-328-9000 to schedule a consultation today.

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3D Imaging Technology Enhances Patient Care

Breakthroughs in dental technology may not grab headlines in mainstream media with the same excitement as the latest Smartphone application or the newest gaming system, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a buzz in the dental and medical communities. Combining cutting-edge technology with high-standard dentistry enables your oral surgeon to attend to your health with tremendous precision and efficiency.

That’s why the introduction of 3-D in the dental office is such a big deal. The same well-respected x-ray technology that is trusted in world-class medical imaging centers can now also be utilized in the dental surgery office. The i-CAT 3D Cone Beam CT Scanner is an imaging system that is quite similar to the well-known CAT Scan procedure, but has been scaled down for use in the dental surgery office.

Now, your oral and maxillofacial surgeon can capture immediate 3-D images of your head and neck anatomy in a manner that provides much more information than the traditional, older 2-D x-ray film. The i-CAT 3D Cone Beam CT Scanner produces an much more accurate and complete picture of the teeth, the bone, the jaw joints, the sinuses, and the nerve pathways in a given area.

Not only can these anatomic features be visualized, but the images can also be turned and rotated to display all angles of the area that is under review for an operation. This is a major breakthrough compared to the limitations of conventional x-rays, even in the digital format.  This type of technology completely eliminates any guesswork or uncertainty regarding your unique anatomy prior to having your wisdom teeth removed, a dental implant placed, or any oral surgery procedure in Chicago.

As always, your comfort as a patient is paramount, and this technology is designed to increase that level of comfort. 3-D images can be captured in as few as 9 seconds without ever having to place a sensor or piece of film into your mouth, or lay inside of a claustrophobic tube.

An imaging solution that is fast, comfortable, and accurate is an asset to your health. Having this technology available on-site is a convenience that our oral surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio are pleased to offer. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your consultation today.

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On December 19th, 2013, posted in: oral surgeon by

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Wisdom Teeth Removal: A Healthy Choice

Signing yourself up for an oral surgery procedure such as having your wisdom teeth removed might sound like self-inflicted torture. It’s the kind of thing that most patients would rather avoid until there are no other options. After all, most of us know at least one friend or acquaintance who retells the horror story of their wisdom tooth experience.

If your wisdom teeth do need to be extracted, even if they are not causing you serious pain at the moment, it is wise to follow the advice of your dentist and see your oral surgeon sooner rather than later. The surgical procedure for having wisdom teeth removed has become far more sophisticated and predictable. Each surgery is performed with your comfort and safety as the highest priorities. Plus, getting the wisdom teeth out as soon as possible will most likely prevent you from suffering from a number of uncomfortable consequences in the future. 

If your wisdom teeth do need to be extracted, even if they are not causing you serious pain at the moment, it is wise to follow the advice of your dentist and see your oral surgeon sooner rather than later.

The modern human jaw is barely large enough to accommodate the third and final set of molars. This does not prevent the wisdom teeth from trying to force themselves into the farthest corners of your mouth. Without adequate space, you can expect to encounter pain, infection, crowding, cysts, and tooth decay for an indefinite period of time.

Beginning around age 17, and continuing until the teeth are extracted, your body will try to accommodate the third molars. It’s an uncomfortable battle that your immune system just can’t win. As a result, you will experience periods of time when the discomfort seems to increase and then subside. You might report to your dentist that the pain seems to come and go occasionally. This is your body’s effort to fight the swelling that comes from a tooth that may be partially stuck through the gum tissue, or a tooth that you are unable to clean thoroughly.  The fact of the matter is that there is a chronic collection of bacteria that supports a chronic, low-grade infection that often does not present itself with any symptoms at all until it is too late.

You should know that damage is occurring during this time, even when you feel that the discomfort has disappeared. Protecting your oral health by having your wisdom teeth extracted is a smart decision that you won’t regret.

To schedule your appointment for oral surgery, contact the office of the Chicago wisdom tooth expert, Dr. Steven Koos, today.

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Is my tooth pain from an impacted wisdom tooth or a tooth abscess?

Pain at the rear of the jaw may indicate a number of problems. This symptom can develop when an impacted wisdom tooth continues to try to erupt into the jaw. If there is not enough room for the large wisdom tooth, it may cause the other teeth to shift as it tries to emerge. This results in discomfort.

A wisdom tooth abscess may also develop in that vicinity, and this condition can cause discomfort, too. An abscess occurs when bacteria infiltrate the tooth’s inner core and reach the root. One of the effects of this process is painful inflammation at the tooth’s root.

The wisdom teeth are more prone to abscesses than other teeth because it is so challenging to keep that area free from bacteria with normal brushing and flossing techniques. This is one compelling reason that patients choose to have impacted wisdom teeth extracted.

A wisdom tooth abscess also will have other symptoms in addition to any discomfort. The bacteria buildup can result in a fever, swelling in the area or in bad breath.

It is unlikely that a patient will be able to determine the cause of dental pain on his or her own, so any patient experiencing a severe toothache at the rear of the mouth should consult with an oral surgeon for a thorough evaluation. The oral surgeon can examine the teeth and gums and take x-rays to determine the cause of your tooth pain.

Many patients will opt to have their wisdom teeth extracted before any symptoms develop as a pre-emptive measure to reduce the chances of experiencing discomfort, whether it is abscess-related or not. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a number of other problems in addition to abscesses and pain, like cysts, misaligned teeth and damage to neighboring teeth.

If you have been experiencing pain in the vicinity of the wisdom teeth, contact our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Steven Koos to determine the cause of that pain and explore appropriate treatments. Call 312-328-9000 and schedule an appointment as soon as possible for your case to be evaluated.

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Can bacteria from my wisdom teeth affect my overall health?

You may have heard the phrase “a healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body,” and the wisdom teeth certainly support that idea. When patients have issues with their wisdom teeth, they can have ripple effects throughout the body.

An impacted wisdom tooth is prone to collecting bacteria due to its location at the rear of the mouth, which is impossible to access with a toothbrush and floss. As a result, impacted wisdom teeth are particularly susceptible to harboring bacterial collections chronically and to abscesses, which are infections that reach the tooth’s inner core. 

An impacted wisdom tooth is prone to collecting bacteria due to its location at the rear of the mouth, which is impossible to access with a toothbrush and floss. 

For this reason, an impacted wisdom tooth has the strong potential to impact your systemic health. The surrounding gums and the tooth’s inner core has a direct link to the bloodstream, which essentially gives oral bacteria a “highway” to spread throughout the body.   These bacteria cause an inflammatory response throughout the vasculature and in end organs.  Links to Alzheimer’s, stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and low fetal birth weights have been established with oral bacterial invasion.  At the very least, this process may cause mild symptoms like a slight fever, chills or aches. If infection is not caught in time, and develops out of control, a very serious condition known as sepsis may develop.

As a preventive measure against such an outcome, many patients choose to have an oral surgeon remove their wisdom teeth before they become problematic. Waiting until symptoms develop can complicate the surgical procedure, especially if an infection is already present in the wisdom teeth.

General oral surgery guidelines recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth removed before they reach their mid-twenties. The surgery is less complex in younger patients, whose roots are not as entrenched in the bone, and younger patients tend to recover more quickly.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a routine procedure, and generally involves minimal discomfort for patients, who often choose sedation for a more comfortable experience. Be sure to discuss any pre-operative and post-operative instructions thoroughly with your oral surgeon so that you can take all necessary steps to decrease your chances of post-operative complications.

Infected wisdom teeth and the bacteria they harbor can have serious consequences throughout the body. Contact the ORA office of the wisdom tooth expert, Drs. Steven Koos DDS, MD to discuss your options.

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Wisdom Teeth Removal Helps to Keep Your Smile Straight

The wisdom teeth, which are often the largest teeth in the mouth, have the potential to cause numerous problems if they become impacted. That frequently happens because human jaws have become narrower over time, and there’s not enough room for the wisdom teeth anymore.

One issue that can arise with impacted wisdom teeth is a misaligned smile. Even if you start out with straight teeth to begin with, the wisdom teeth can certainly displace them out of position as they continue to erupt into a jaw that is not big enough to hold them.

If you spent years adhering to your orthodontist’s instructions, you should consult with an oral surgeon to preserve the effects of all of those efforts and that big investment of time and money.

Most patients have an oral surgeon remove their wisdom teeth before age 25, and acting quickly to have your wisdom teeth extracted after completing orthodontic treatment is advisable. Patients who don’t have their wisdom teeth removed in a timely fashion can find that they have to undergo a repeat round of orthodontic treatment to undo the damage caused by the wisdom teeth.

Waiting even a few years can cause your teeth to shift as impacted wisdom teeth continue to try to push through the gums.

The wisdom extraction procedure in younger patients is also simpler because the roots are not as developed and not as thoroughly entrenched in the jaw, and younger patients tend to heal more quickly following wisdom tooth extraction, as well.

Keep in mind that a properly aligned smile has benefits beyond the aesthetic ones. Although many people get orthodontic treatment primarily to improve the smile’s appearance, teeth that are in the right positions are more effective at chewing, and a misaligned smile can also lead to other oral health problems, like increased likelihood of cavities and even temporomandibular joint disorders.

Don’t let your wisdom teeth destroy the efforts of your orthodontist. Contact our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Drs. Steven Koos, to develop a plan for wisdom tooth extraction to preserve your healthy, attractive smile.

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On October 21st, 2013, posted in: oral surgeon by

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Do I have options for environmentally friendly oral surgery?

Patients who are dedicated to preserving the environment don’t have to leave those beliefs behind when it comes to dental treatment. A small, but growing movement in dentistry, as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery, strives to treat patients with minimal impact to the planet.

You can definitely go green when it’s time for your wisdom tooth extraction (or any other surgical tooth extraction, or surgery in the mouth or on the face, for that matter). Be sure to discuss the office’s green practices in advance of the procedure to learn how you are minimizing your carbon footprint while receiving a needed dental intervention.

You may have noticed that in many dental offices, the staff uses and discards countless pieces of plastic equipment. In fact, during the average dental visit, the practitioners use around 46 pieces of non-degradable plastic of some sort. We use none in treating our patients. 

For the past several years, our practice has worked to identify ways in which we could reduce our environmental impact.

We also use digital radiography as part of the planning process for tooth extraction, eliminating the harmful chemicals associated with developing traditional x-ray film and reducing our patients’ exposure to radiation.

All of these efforts are the culmination of a dedicated initiative to bring a more ecofriendly approach to oral surgery.

For the past several years, our practice has worked to identify ways in which we could reduce our environmental impact. This effort led us to calculate our greenhouse gas emissions using the U.S. EPA “Office Carbon Footprint Tool” and to collaborate with an organization called Terrapass to offset over 200 metric tons per year, an amount that is more than twice our actual carbon footprint.

We have a facility designed in accordance with green building standards, and our office switched to green, renewable wind energy to power our building, further reducing our carbon footprint. We also recycle as much paper as possible and make efforts to minimize unnecessary use of water.

We also have made a commitment to have a tree planted in exchange for every tooth removed in our practice. Our efforts have led to replenishing thousands of these valuable natural resources every year.

If you want the added benefit to be treated, not only in a state-of-the-art facility, by one of the best oral and maxillofacial surgeons in Chicago, but also by a fully green oral surgery practice, be sure to view the many details on our website and contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to learn more.

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Wisdom Tooth Extraction: What should I expect during the recovery process?

The many benefits of sedation for tooth extraction make it a popular choice for both wisdom teeth extraction patients as well as the oral surgeon. The ability to have a surgical procedure completed in a calm and relaxing environment can make a serious situation much less stressful. However, when you choose to add sedatives to your procedure, you should be aware of how these medications will influence you.

Fortunately, the medications used to achieve a comfortable level of sedation are very safe and well-accepted, plus they can be modified to accommodate the needs of each dental patient. There are some short-term lingering effects from these medications, which is why it helps to be informed and prepared prior to your appointment.

If you choose sedation, you should expect to feel somewhat groggy or sleepy for several hours after you arrive home. You can plan in advance for this downtime by arranging to have a trusted adult to wait during your appointment and then drive you home and hang around with you.  This lingering drowsiness isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, since your body will need to be well-rested in order to heal in a timely manner. To make the most of this peaceful time, stock up on soft nutritious snacks, plenty of water, and lots of good books.

You should also expect to experience some discomfort during the recovery process. Sedatives can effectively raise your threshold for pain, but as the medications wear off, you should be prepared to switch over to supplemental pain relievers. You will be informed about the appropriate pain management techniques prior to your surgery. This may include over-the-counter pain relievers and prescription medications.

Some bleeding during the first day is common. Controlling the bleeding and allowing a blood clot to form in the socket are the first steps in the healing process. You may be provided with gauze packs and tips for promoting a healthy blood clot.  For your safety, to prevent choking, it’s best to avoid sleeping with gauze packs in your mouth. To prevent soiling your pillows with saliva and blood try elevating your head and draping your pillow with clean towels.

Call ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to schedule a consultation today if you’d like to learn more about managing sedation for tooth extraction.

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Wisdom Teeth: Is it better to remove them all at once or individually?

When you are planning to schedule an oral surgery appointment to have your wisdom teeth removed, a little planning can make your treatment much smoother. You can plan to have a consultation with the oral surgeon regarding the surgery, and asking the right questions during that meeting can shed a lot of light on the surgical process and its impact on your future health.

Most of us are born with four wisdom teeth, one in each of the farthest corners of our mouths, and it’s common to have them removed during the late teens or early 20’s. Quite often, these molars fail to develop with normal shapes and sizes, and they may also take on an unhealthy position within the jawbone. The unfortunate result is a set of teeth that don’t fit into the mouth, become the source of a chronic or painful infection, or pose a risk to the neighboring teeth. 

…in recommending the extraction of a wisdom tooth, your oral surgeon will use professional judgment to predict whether any remaining wisdom teeth will need to be removed in the future.

A consultation with digital CT scan images helps to reveal the exact details of each wisdom tooth. The fate of each tooth will be determined separately, and the risk of extracting each tooth will be assessed individually. However, in recommending the extraction of a wisdom tooth, your oral surgeon will use professional judgment to predict whether any remaining wisdom teeth will need to be removed in the future.

To avoid a future surgical procedure, additional anesthesia, and additional treatment costs, you may be advised to have all of the wisdom teeth removed at once. It’s a choice that is more conservative than scheduling repeated surgeries, and it reduces the risk that the remaining wisdom teeth could affect your health in a negative manner. This is more commonly seen, since all of the wisdom teeth tend to develop around the same time, and are more likely to have similarities in terms or size, shape, or position within the jaw.

However, a wisdom tooth that appears to have a lower or minimal potential to cause future health concerns may not be recommended for extraction at all. Scheduling a consultation with our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons to discuss your wisdom teeth extraction is the best way to determine the choice that is best for you.

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Anesthesia for Wisdom Teeth Extraction: Is it safe?

Absolutely!  And often very necessary.  Mentally preparing yourself to have your wisdom teeth extracted is much easier when you aren’t worried about how and what you’ll feel during the procedure. Fortunately, oral and maxillofacial surgeons have a notable reputation for being superbly trained in the art of administering anesthesia for surgery on the face and mouth. With the proper selection and dosage of medications, your pain and anxiety levels can be managed so that your experience will be actually pleasant and more productive.

The average dental patient can easily understand the benefits and advantages of dental anesthesia and sedation. No one wants to feel any pain, the surgeon certainly doesn’t want to hurt you, and most patients are more comfortable when they are asleep during the procedure.

However, even with the obvious advantages, you are perfectly justified in confirming that your anesthesia is administered carefully. After all, you want to enjoy a peaceful dental experience that won’t precipitate any serious negative outcomes.

For your safety, your oral surgeon has been trained to select, prescribe, and administer a variety of medications for this proposed surgical treatment. This in-depth education includes pharmacology, anesthesiology, physiology, emergency medicine, and general surgery – dental school, medical school, and a 6 year residency program.   The comprehensive, well-rounded curriculum ensures that the surgeon, as well as the surgical team, can provide you with the care that is best for you and also allows them to manage any incidents that may arise.

The most commonly prescribed sedatives and anesthetics are safe when they are administered orally, inhaled, or intravenously (with an IV) under the direct supervision of a responsible and experienced oral surgeon. However, before any medications are dispensed, your health history and airway will be reviewed thoroughly to prevent any potential health complications or allergic reactions.

In a clean and safe environment, and under the control of a surgical specialist, you can feel confident about your decision to choose anesthesia for tooth extraction procedures or other oral surgery treatments. Anesthesia means that you’ll have no reason to worry about the outcome, and you’ll know exactly what to expect before your treatment begins. Contact our team at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio to learn more. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your professional consultation today.

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