Possible Consequences of Sensory Nerve Injury: Anesthesia

A wisdom tooth abscess is a dental infection that can make life pretty miserable until it is resolved.  It can cause severe swelling, pain, fever, and may make you feel generally unhealthy. Some patients feel very sick and others are unable to eat comfortably when the infection is at its worst.

This general ill feeling and the possible risk to your health might be managed for a short while with antibiotics and pain relievers, although the recommended treatment is to actually have the offending tooth extracted. At that time, any other wisdom teeth that are found to pose a potential risk to your health are often recommended for extraction as well.

As you begin planning for the extraction of your wisdom teeth, remember to discuss the possible consequences with your oral surgeon. One possible consequence is damage to the sensory nerves that are found within the lower jaw, or within the soft tissues around the surgical site. 

The potential risks of sensory nerve anesthesia and other complications are low and should not deter you from addressing the problems associated with a wisdom tooth abscess. 

Sensory nerves are responsible for providing us with the ability to feel various sensations – temperature, pressure, pain, light touch, vibration, etc.  Even though you will be sedated and asleep for your operation, your oral surgeon will use local anesthetics to numb the nerve temporarily during your surgery. This helps keeps you comfortable during the procedure and may last for 10-12 hours after your surgery. Although it produces a funny feeling sensation, the anesthesia will prevent you from feeling any pain or sharpness.

With injury to a sensory nerve, depending on the type of injury, a small percentage of cases will develop numbness as a temporary side-effect that could be prolonged for several days or months in a condition known as paresthesia or anesthesia. The tongue, lips, gums, chin, or face may be involved, and the damage effects the areas around the lower jaw. In a small percentage of cases, the numbness is permanent due to irreversible damage to the sensory nerves. The nerve enters the jawbone in the inner rear portion, closest to the wisdom teeth, and branches out toward the chin. The whole distribution of this nerve will be affected.

The potential risks of sensory nerve anesthesia and other complications are low and should not deter you from addressing the problems associated with a wisdom tooth abscess. To learn more about this condition and other related factors, contact the ORA office of Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD for an appointment today.

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Could Your Toothache Be Something More Serious?

When you have been stricken with a painful toothache, it’s easy to become singularly focused on making the pain stop. For a short while, pain relievers, antibiotics, and even patience can be helpful. However, when you camouflage the pain, you may actually be doing yourself a disservice.

Your toothache, whether it is in response to a sweet treat or a cold beverage, could actually be a sign of something more serious. Not seeking treatment soon enough is a common mistake that often enables a small problem to become magnified.

The wisdom teeth are notorious for eliciting random and unpredictable toothache-type discomfort. The discomfort can be pulsing, throbbing, shooting, or aching, and it can extend from the ear down through the jaw. It can sometimes refer pain to a neighboring tooth, and sometimes it’s tough to tell if the pain is coming from the top teeth or the bottom teeth. Often times, patients report that “everything hurts” and just opening and closing the mouth or chewing food becomes a challenge.

To find out if your dental pain is a passing problem or a serious condition, it’s best to consult an expert. Without x-ray images and a clinical examination, you will be unable to pinpoint the root of the problem. For instance, a problematic wisdom tooth could involve an abscess, a cavity, a cyst, adjacent tooth damage, inflammation in the gums, and even chronic cheek-biting.

One or all of these issues can lead to infections that are likely to throw your immune system into a tail-spin. Ignoring the problem or treating the symptoms with short-term solutions and home remedies will only threaten your general health and make the future extraction of these teeth more complicated.

Problems with the wisdom teeth are not self-correcting, but your oral surgeon can offer a definitive solution that will make you comfortable again in no time. If you suspect that your toothache is signaling a deeper problem, don’t hesitate to contact the wisdom tooth experts at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio today to schedule a complete examination.

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Possible Consequences of Sensory Nerve Injury: Dysesthesia

No form of surgery is without certain inherent risks, and that includes dental surgery. There is always the potential for complications to arise in response to the materials that are used during the surgical procedure, the anesthetics, other medications, unique anatomy, physiology, and your own existing health conditions.

Prior to the surgical procedure, your oral surgeon will certainly make every reasonable attempt to prepare for a healthy outcome, and will communicate with you about the potential risks and benefits. In most cases, surgery will only be performed when the benefits can be proven to outweigh the risks. Still, it’s important to be aware of the possibility that an unforeseen development could occur so that you can be prepared for what comes next.

For example, the vast majority of procedures involving the surgical removal of wisdom teeth can be performed smoothly and without incident. However, there is a risk that the removal of these teeth could result in unanticipated nerve damage. 

Prior to the surgical procedure, your oral surgeon will certainly make every reasonable attempt to prepare for a healthy outcome, and will communicate with you about the potential risks and benefits.

A type of sensory nerve injury known as dysesthesia, which literally means “abnormal sensation” and is often used to refer to unpleasant and painful sensation, can sometimes be seen following the extraction of the lower wisdom teeth. These teeth are located quite close to the nerve pathway that is responsible for your ability to feel normal sensations. Should that nerve pathway be disrupted during the surgical procedure, you may experience an unpleasant or uncomfortable sensation that is temporary, extended, or sustained.

Patients who suffer from this condition frequently report feelings of pain, burning, electric shock, wetness, tingling, numbness, or coldness. The degree of the discomfort can range from minimal to debilitating, and it generally occurs spontaneously.

Most patients who experience dysesthesia can expect a full or dramatically improved recovery with time.  Improvement is slow, however, and can take many months to over a year.

During your initial consultation, be sure to discuss your risk for a sensory nerve injury, and mention any abnormal sensations during your post-operative follow up visit. Being fully informed as you enter into a surgical procedure is the best way to be prepared for all possible outcomes. Find out more by contacting the ORA office of Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 to arrange your consultation today.

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Imagine a World without Wisdom Teeth

Who wouldn’t want to do away with wisdom teeth? They are almost always impacted, turned sideways, or causing silent damage in the farthest corners of your mouth. For most patients, these teeth tend to be non-functional, if they even grow in at all. Whether these teeth manage to grow in or not, there’s always the strong chance that they will require oral surgery in the future.

Although most of us are born with all four wisdom teeth (third molars), some people seem to only develop two or three of them, and some never even get one! Dental researchers at Tuft University investigated that claims that some people never develop wisdom teeth, and they uncovered an interesting pattern:

A large percentage of children who received local dental anesthesia (complete nerve block of the inferior alveolar nerve) in the lower jaw younger than the age of 6 failed to develop their lower set of third molars.

The results of the study suggest that the development of the third molars might be interrupted by the use of local dental anesthesia in the rear of the lower jaw. Between the ages of 2 and 6, these teeth start off as tiny buds in the jawbone that will eventually mature into full-grown molars. The buds are located very close to the nerve pathway that must be numbed in order to perform dental treatment on the lower teeth.

When a child requires a dental filling during these years, there is the possibility that the growth of these delicate tooth buds can be stopped if they are damaged by the dental injection. Although this cause-and-effect relationship has not been fully proven, it certainly opens the door to more research on the subject. It also presents an intriguing and valid question: Is it possible to develop a clinical technique that would prevent the growth and development of unwanted third molars?

Preventing the growth of third molars and reducing the need for the related oral surgery procedures could revolutionize the dental experience. If you still have your wisdom teeth, or for more information about the future of this theory, contact our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Chicago’s premiere dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio.

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Possible Consequences of Sensory Nerve Injury: Paresthesia

If there was ever a good time to have your impacted wisdom tooth extracted, it’s now. The advancements in modern dentistry and oral surgery have been remarkable, and that makes the procedure for having the wisdom teeth removed simpler and more predictable than ever.

Prior to your surgery, your oral surgeon will make every possible effort to ensure that you are well-informed, comfortable, and aware of the risks associated with the procedure. Even the most straightforward surgical procedure comes with risks, and understanding those risks in advance can keep you calm and comfortable should you experience an unavoidable occurrence.

During oral surgery, there is the potential for a disruption in the function of the sensory nerves in the treatment area. Sensory nerves are responsible for your ability to feel certain sensations in and around the mouth. These are not nerves that control movement of function.  When these nerves are disrupted, you may experience a number of short or long-term sensations, including the following:

  • Numbness (Anesthesia)
  • Tingling “pins and needles” sensation (Paresthesia)
  • Feeling as though the lips, tongue, chin, or gums have fallen asleep (Anesthesia)
  • An electric shock sensation
  • Burning (Dysesthesia)
  • Hypersensitivity to touch (Hyperesthesia)
  • Pain (Dysesthesia)

A sensory nerve injury, known as paresthesia – altered sensation, will create a tingling sensation, however a patient will be able to still have some sensation.  Smiling, speaking, and eating can still occur as usual, but these actions may feel different when the sensory nerves have been affected.

The symptoms of this type of nerve injury can be mild to severe, and they may last for a brief period of time or they can become permanent. In most cases, the appropriate sensations will return without the need for surgery or medications. However, when the nerve is unable to recover from the disturbance, a surgical repair may be necessary depending on the mechanism of the injury.

The thought of a nerve injury can be alarming. Just remember that any surgical procedure carries a slight risk, and your oral surgeon is prepared to identify and address a development such as paresthesia.

Contact the office of Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD at 312-328-9000 to learn more about wisdom teeth extraction and the possible consequences.

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Tips to Prepare for Your Oral Surgery

Whether the oral surgery is a common one, like wisdom tooth removal, or more complex, such as a facial reconstruction procedure, you want to be prepared for what will take place when you are in the oral surgeon’s chair.

Your initial consultation with your oral surgeon gives you a chance to review all of the pre-operative plans you need to make. Be sure to take good notes to take home with you, or better yet, refer to our website’s “patient resources” menu selection.

With intravenous sedation for tooth extraction, you will need to make special preparations for the day of the procedure. When the sedative is administered intravenously or if general anesthesia is being used, patients need to fast after midnight (minimum of 8 hours)before coming to the office for surgery.

You’ll want to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing to the office on the day of your surgery as well. This will add to your comfort during the procedure.   Flat shoes and patient’s should remove contacts and nail polish before their procedure as well. 

Your initial consultation with your oral surgeon gives you a chance to review all of the pre-operative plans you need to make.

In addition to having a to-do list for before the procedure, you should also be familiar with your post-operative instructions. For example, following a tooth extraction with sedation, you will need to be escorted home by a responsible adult. You will still be experiencing some of the sedative’s effects when it is time to leave the office.

Dietary adjustments may also be needed in the few days after your surgery. Do some shopping in advance so that your kitchen is stocked with soft foods like ice cream, mashed potatoes, pasta, and yogurt.

Take care to avoid activities that may disrupt the healing process. Drinking through straws, for example, can lead to dry sockets after wisdom tooth extraction, and straws should be avoided. Patients should not smoke in the first few days after their recovery. This, too, can lead to complications and interfere with the healing process.

There is no need to have anxiety about a pending oral surgery procedure. Talk to our oral surgeon in advance to address any concerns that you may have. Develop a plan for before and after the procedure to improve your chances of a good outcome and be well informed.

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What is causing my wisdom tooth pain?

Pain at the rear of the jaw, where the third molars (more commonly known as the “wisdom teeth”) are located, can be due to a number of factors.

An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain merely when it continues to attempt to erupt and there is no room to accommodate it. The gums can become tender, and the other teeth may try to shift to create room for the wisdom tooth, causing pain.

The issue may be more serious, though. Another potential problem is a wisdom tooth abscess.

A wisdom tooth abscess occurs when an infection reaches the tooth’s root or develops between the gum and the root. An abscess can have severe consequences, including a systemic infection known as sepsis, if it is not treated in a timely fashion.

Although you can be aware of signs of an abscess like bad breath and a fever, it will be impossible for you to determine specifically what is causing your symptoms on your own. You will need to consult with an oral surgeon, who can take x-rays and look for other indicators that suggest the cause of your pain.

To avoid experiencing pain and the other negative outcomes of a wisdom tooth abscess, or even impacted wisdom teeth in general, it is recommended that patients have their third molars removed by the time they reach age 25.

Removing the wisdom teeth can prevent other negative consequences like misalignment of the other teeth, which may occur as the wisdom teeth try to push through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can also increase your chances of developing gum disease.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a straightforward procedure that can take place in the oral surgeon’s office. Patients will have some sort of intravenous sedative for additional comfort.

If you are experiencing pain in the vicinity of your wisdom teeth, contact our dual degree oral and maxillofacial surgeons at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio as soon as possible to get a conclusive diagnosis. Begin to plan for the extraction procedure so that you can eliminate your symptoms. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your consultation today.

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Tooth Extraction: How long will it take to recover from anesthesia?

Most patients opt for some type of sedation or anesthesia for tooth extraction, either due to anxiety about the procedure or just to have a more comfortable experience. Let’s face it, have a tooth extracted is a very unpleasant experience otherwise.  Sedation or anesthesia can put you at ease, which will make the surgery go more smoothly.

While a local anesthetic may suffice for a simple extraction, a complex tooth extraction must be completed only by an oral surgeon. The wisdom teeth, or third molars, should be removed exclusively by an oral surgeon because they are often impacted and general dentists or periodontists do not have adequate training.

Either sedation or anesthesia are usually used for a surgical extraction. Sedation has a milder effect, putting a patient into a deep state of relaxation without rendering the patient fully unconscious. Most sedatives are anti-anxiety medications that help to suppress the patient’s reservations about the procedure. Patients lose consciousness under general anesthesia.

Sedation is generally considered to be safer than anesthesia because the airway is not completely compromised in sedation and the patient remains semi-conscious. General anesthesia requires airway maintenance, and patients are not able to respond to the oral surgeon’s commands.  The margin of safety for both is phenomenal though at the hands of a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Patients want to be prepared for what to expect after their tooth extraction, so questions about recovery from anesthesia are common. After the procedure, patients will begin to come out of the anesthesia or sedation immediately. However, you will not be fully alert immediately.

Keep in mind that a milder sedative will generally wear off faster than full general anesthesia because patients require additional medications to induce general anesthesia. Nonetheless, if you choose sedation or anesthesia for your tooth extraction, you will need to plan for someone to take you home after your appointment. When it’s time for you to leave, you will not be able to drive yourself.

Recovery from anesthesia is simple and smooth in the outpatient office setting for a surgical tooth extraction. Talk to the wisdom tooth experts at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio in advance of the procedure so that you can be prepared for the effects of anesthesia. Call 312-328-9000 to schedule your consultation.

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Wisdom Tooth Removal: Reduce the risk of periodontal disease

You may realize that removing the wisdom teeth will eliminate potential discomfort and protect your smile’s appearance. Did you know that wisdom teeth removal can also protect you from gum disease? It’s true!

When the wisdom teeth are impacted or partially erupted, it is difficult to keep them clean. Their location at the rear of the mouth presents an additional challenge to oral hygiene.

If the wisdom teeth are not extracted, bacteria will collect in the area. Eventually, that bacteria will attack the gums and cause periodontal disease. The bacteria can easily spread to surrounding teeth as well.

For this reason, having your wisdom teeth extracted by our experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons can offer a level of protection against periodontal disease. 

Wisdom teeth removal is one of many steps you can take to prevent gum disease.

Patients usually turn to an oral surgeon for wisdom tooth extraction due to the complex nature of removing wisdom teeth, which definitely should not be left to a general dentist. It’s best to have your wisdom teeth removed by age 25, as the procedure can be more difficult and entail a longer recovery time for older patients.

Advanced gum disease can lead to devastating outcomes, including bone loss and tooth loss. The effects of gum disease are not limited to the mouth either. Inflammation of the gum tissue aggravates other organs and has a systemic effect.  For example, there is a link between that oral inflammation and heart disease as well as stroke. Additionally, research has uncovered a correlation between gum disease and other issues like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and problems with pregnancy.

Wisdom teeth removal is one of many steps you can take to prevent gum disease. Keep up with a good home oral hygiene routine and regular dental appointments, and give up your smoking habit if you have one to further reduce your risk.

Gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health, and having your wisdom teeth removed will eliminate a risk factor for this condition. If you are older than your early teen years and still have your wisdom teeth, do not wait to show and feel symptoms, but rather contact the Chicago office of Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD and schedule an initial evaluation to begin planning for their comfortable extraction.

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Harvesting Dental Stem Cells for Future Use

Stem cells are tremendously valuable because they can be directed to mature into any type of cell in the human body. They can be used in treatments for various illnesses and injuries and have shown promise in interventions for a range of conditions, including Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis and leukemia, among others.

When the stem cells used to develop treatments are your own, there is a lower chance of complications such as rejection of the cells. Patients who use their own stem cells may also be able to avoid anti-rejection drugs that compromise the immune system.

Fortunately, the pulp in your teeth is a plentiful source of these versatile cells. Dental stem cells reproduce particularly quickly and for long durations.

Dental stem cells are also quite easy to access, much more so than those found in the bone marrow that is often another source of these cells. Any tooth removed from the mouth – primary teeth, wisdom teeth, or other permanent teeth – can be harvested for stem cells.

Younger patients tend to have more robust dental stem cells that are more useful in medical treatments. When your child has a primary tooth on the verge of being lost, you may want to take your child to an oral surgeon to have the stem cells extracted and stored.

Oral surgeons can use a system called StemSave to store these stem cells for later use. Immediately after the oral surgery or simple extraction, the teeth are placed in the StemSave recovery and transport unit and shipped to StemSave using an express service. The stem cells are removed from the teeth and cryogenically preserved until you need them in the future.

If you are planning to have a tooth extracted, or if you have a child on the cusp of losing the primary teeth, take advantage of the opportunity to bank the stem cells found in those teeth. If you’re ever faced with some sort of disease or illness that can be treated using those stem cells, you’ll be glad you did.

To learn more about this safe, non-controversial source of potent stem cells, contact the office of Dr. Steven Koos DDS, MD and schedule your informative consultation today.

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