Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed before getting Invisalign or braces?

wisdom teeth ChicagoProper planning and preparation prior to embarking on your orthodontic journey can certainly improve your chances for a successful final result. If you are considering Invisalign or traditional braces, it may be necessary to have your wisdom teeth removed.

Planning for the removal of your wisdom teeth in Chicago should begin with a consultation with our dual-degree oral surgeon. A thorough evaluation of the wisdom teeth is necessary to determine whether the teeth should be removed.  In most instances with orthodontic considerations they will have to be removed so be aware to include this into your full treatment plan.

Wisdom teeth that are contributing to crowding or shifting of the neighboring teeth are typically required to be extracted. Most orthodontic procedures are based on the ability to move the teeth into the proper position through the use of gentle, strategic forces. When the wisdom teeth inflict additional forces on the teeth, the results can be unpredictable and also relapse after treatment is complete is more likely.

Wisdom teeth that are impacted or unerupted can lead to inflammation and irritation to the surrounding gum tissue. Localized infection can develop when bacteria are allowed to travel below the gumline around an impacted wisdom tooth. This potential for active infection can produce a number of adverse effects during and after the orthodontic process if untreated. Identifying and eliminating the risk for infection and inflammation prior to beginning orthodontic treatment can often protect your health and prevent future dental complications.

Today’s orthodontic procedures are often customized and fabricated to fit the shape and position of your teeth. Wisdom teeth that are continuing to shift or wisdom teeth that are out of position can prevent your orthodontic appliances from fitting properly. This is especially true for the Invisalign procedure, in which the custom molded aligners must be able to be completely seated on the teeth without interference from the wisdom teeth.

During orthodontic treatment, oral hygiene should be a top priority. For many patients, the wisdom teeth can present a challenge in terms of plaque control during brushing and flossing. Simply extracting the wisdom teeth can improve your access to these hard to reach areas.

Before beginning the active phase of your orthodontic treatment, you should schedule your oral surgery consultation in our Chicago IL office to have your wisdom teeth evaluated?

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On December 5th, 2011, posted in: wisdom teeth by

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What does recovery involve with wisdom teeth extraction?

If you are planning to have your wisdom teeth extracted, it’s important to prepare not only for the surgery, but also for the healing process that takes place afterward. Dr. Steven Koos, your dual-degreed Chicago oral and maxillofacial surgeon (which sets him apart from other single degree DDS only oral surgeons and as both a physician and dental surgeon he has the special expertise to comprehensively treat complex oral conditions), can help you develop a plan for aftercare that will reduce the likelihood of complications and make for an uneventful smoother recovery

As with any oral surgery, patients who have had their wisdom teeth extracted may have discomfort in the days immediately following the procedure. It is possible to minimize that pain, though. A regimen to decrease post-operative swelling will significantly decrease discomfort.  Intra-operative steroids are given to reduce edema.  Additionally, patients should apply ice against the cheeks for the first 48 hours then switch to applying heat. Your ORA oral surgeon in Chicago IL will also prescribe a non-narcotic analgesic, like Ibuprofen 800mg, and a narcotic analgesic, like Vicodin or Percocet, that you can take as needed to alleviate symptoms.  A hydrocolloid gel medication is often dispensed as well post-extraction to sooth the extraction sockets, promote healing and also keep bacteria reduced in the healing area.

The dual degree oral surgeons at ORA will recommend a precautionary self-care regimen. Patients should avoid vigorous exercise or strenuous exercise for the first 72 hours.  From a dietary perspective patients should avoid carbonated beverages, vigorous swishing and forceful expectoration, or using a straw for the first several days after any extraction. Additionally, patients should maintain a soft diet until any sensitivity in the mouth subsides. Patients should maintain a normal oral hygiene routine, making any accommodations needed if sutures/stitches are present, and rinse with salt water to promote healing. Most young adult patients will recover fully within a few days of the extraction, although older patients can sometimes take a week or longer to recuperate.

The risk of complications from wisdom teeth extraction in downtown Chicago is very low, but certain conditions may arise. Patients may have lingering numbness or bleeding, or an infection may set in at the surgical site. Another issue often associated with wisdom teeth extraction is dry sockets, which occur when the blood clots dissolve prematurely and do not reform. Those blood clots serve as “insulation” for the bones and nerves in the socket, but if the clots are absent, those structures can be directly exposed to the air, food and liquids in the mouth. The sockets can become persistently painful upon this contact and may cause throbbing pain, but treatment is simple with a special medicated dressing.

To learn more about safe, comfortable wisdom teeth extraction and a smooth recovery process, contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio in Chicago at 312.328.9000.

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On November 16th, 2011, posted in: oral surgeon by


Detriment of not diagnosing, discussing and treating wisdom teeth impactions

oral surgery ChicagoPatients whose wisdom teeth have not been problematic are sometimes reluctant to have those teeth removed. They may want to avoid oral surgery in Chicago due to apprehension, or they may have been misinformed that it’s unnecessary to extract teeth that aren’t causing pain.

However, the wisdom teeth (also known by the more technical term “third molars”) should usually be removed even before they cause pain or other symptoms. Leaving the wisdom teeth in place can lead to major issues, and the oral surgery needed for extraction becomes more challenging as patients get older and the wisdom teeth’s roots get longer and more entrenched in the jaw bone.

When patients have reached their late teens and there are no signs of the wisdom teeth erupting, it’s a safe assumption that the teeth are impacted. The first step in confirming a wisdom tooth impaction is an advanced x-ray, a 3d CT scan, in which this dual degree Chicago oral surgeon will examine the jaws for signs of the wisdom teeth along with any factors that might present a complication in their presence and planned comfortable extraction.

If you are a young adult who still has your wisdom teeth you should plan to have them removed with comfortable sedation before you reach your mid-20s.

The wisdom teeth can cause a host of problems if they are not removed in a timely fashion. Impacted wisdom teeth can develop cysts or even tumors. If the wisdom teeth eventually erupt partially, they’ll serve as a haven for bacteria because it’s nearly impossible to reach the pocketing around third molars to keep them sufficiently clean through brushing and flossing. As those bacteria collect, they’ll begin to attack the gums, leading to periodontal disease. That periodontal disease may progress to the point where the underlying jawbone also begins to deteriorate from the inflammation.  That bacteria will also increase the likelihood of decay on the neighboring good molars and can lead to those teeth needing to be extracted as well.

Aesthetic flaws can arise from the wisdom teeth, as well. If the wisdom teeth continue to push their way through the jawbone, they may crowd the other teeth and throw the smile out of alignment.

A dentist not diagnosing, discussing and referring a patient to an oral surgeon in Chicago for treatment of impacted, partially impacted, or mal-erupted wisdom teeth is doing their patients a  real disservice and indirectly committing malpractice.   Imagine not having gum disease diagnosed or treated, or a cavity not diagnosed or treated because “they don’t hurt right now”.

Although it’s best to have the wisdom teeth extracted at a young age, older patients who still have their wisdom teeth should have them skillfully removed by our dual degree Chicago oral surgeons nonetheless. Those patients should plan for a longer recovery time and the surgery may be more complex, but ultimately the benefits of having the wisdom teeth comfortably extracted with sedation outweigh the challenges.

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On November 2nd, 2011, posted in: oral surgery by

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What can be done when a tooth can’t be restored?

A primary goal in dentistry is to restore or save as many natural teeth as possible, whenever possible. When the prognosis for a damaged tooth is determined to be poor, the most reasonable solution may be tooth extraction. If your dentist feels that the chances for a successful restoration are exceptionally low, the next best alternative is typically tooth extraction/tooth removal followed by an appropriate replacement.

There are times when a natural tooth can cause more damage than benefit. A tooth that is infected, fractured to the jaw bone, or compromised by advanced bone loss can be unhealthy for the body. Chronic infection can have serious distant systemic ill-effects and can even be life-threatening and a painful or non-functional tooth can restrict your chewing ability. In these instances, choosing tooth extraction/tooth removal in Chicago by a dual-degree oral surgeon can be the best choice for your health.

Prior to extracting your natural tooth, this oral surgeon will ensure that you are well-informed as to the repercussions of tooth loss. There will be a new challenge in terms of chewing and eating comfortably. There is also the risk of localized bone loss in the area where the tooth has been removed. Without the guidance of the natural tooth, the loss of support to the neighboring teeth will become evident as shifting and crowding begin to occur.

In light of the chain of events that are known to occur following tooth extraction, choosing an appropriate tooth replacement such as a dental implant should be an immediate consideration. Our oral surgeon can help to determine if you are a possible candidate for dental implants. This dual-degree oral surgeon will evaluate the availability of bone support in the area of the proposed implant and recommend supplementary bone grafting if necessary. In some instances, an implant can even be placed immediately after the tooth has been extracted.

When your natural tooth cannot be restored, it can be encouraging to know that there are other, extremely effective alternatives. Contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio and speak with one of our dual degreed our oral surgeons about the solutions that are in the best interest of your overall health, and plan to proceed with your treatment as soon as you are able.

If you are facing tooth loss, don’t postpone treatment, call 312.328.9000 for your appointment today.

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On October 17th, 2011, posted in: tooth extraction by


At what age should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

wisdom teeth chicagoThe recommendation to have the wisdom teeth removed is highly individualized and also highly under-diagnosed, which results in a detriment to the patient. Although there is no steadfast rule dictating the removal of wisdom teeth for every patient, chances are high that most adults will need them removed eventually. In fact, decades of statistics show that upwards of 85% of wisdom teeth develop issues and require extraction.

This third set of molars can present a number of dental and health problems, prompting your dentist to recommend extraction by this dual degree oral surgeon. Often, these teeth can be tough to access in terms of proper brushing and flossing, resulting in cavities, gum disease, and pain. In other instances, the jaw bone may not be large enough to accommodate the last set of molars. The consequences of this lack of space can include impacted teeth, poorly positioned teeth, and damage to the neighboring teeth.

If you are considering the fate of your wisdom teeth in Chicago, you may be wondering how long you have to make the final decision. Understandably, most patients would choose to wait as long as possible, as long as the teeth are not causing unbearable pain. The risk with this choice, however, is that irreversible damage can occur by the time pain becomes a factor.

Rather than wait for the ‘red flag’ of pain, your general dentist should be advising you to be proactive in your choice. The recommended time to have this Chicago oral surgeon remove your wisdom teeth is:

  • Soon after the wisdom teeth develop, and better before they are fully developed
  • During the young, healthy years (ages 17-24)
  • Before the onset of pain or damage

Wisdom teeth can be extracted at any age, but most patients between the ages of 17 and 24 can expect the speediest and most favorable recovery. As patients progress into the late 30’s, 40’s and beyond, the recovery period following surgery can become increasingly difficult. It is also recommended to consider tooth extraction during the late teen or young adult years when the bone is less dense and the tooth roots have less anatomy.

Contact ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio and schedule a consultation with one of our dual-degreed oral surgeons today for a professional recommendation regarding the status of your wisdom teeth.

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On October 3rd, 2011, posted in: wisdom teeth by

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Sedation dentistry: A safe and comfortable way to have your wisdom teeth removed

wisdom tooth removal Chicago Few patients look forward to the day that their wisdom teeth are removed. Although wisdom teeth removal is often necessary to protect your dental and physical health, many patients find themselves anxious and apprehensive prior to the procedure.

The procedure to remove the wisdom teeth is most often surgical, and this oral surgeon can appreciate patients who are understandably nervous or anxious. Although your oral surgeon has taken steps to make your appointment as relaxing and comfortable as possible, patients who are seeking wisdom teeth removal in Chicago will need sedation dentistry for added comfort.  There are two types of sedation dentistry utilized for the removal of wisdom teeth and the surgical extraction of teeth.  Either conscious sedation, otherwise known as moderate sedation, or deep sedation will be necessary.

Many patients find themselves worrying unnecessarily about waking up during the sedation procedure, which does not occur, and also being in pain after they awaken. Local anesthetics will be used to numb the gums, bone, and teeth prior to removing the wisdom teeth. Since the surgical area is also completely anesthetized, patients are unable to feel any sensation of pain upon awakening.  Patients are very surprised that the procedure went so quickly and smoothly and that it is even over.

A discussion about your concerns and a review of your medical history will assist your oral surgeon in determining the level of sedation, moderate or deep, that is safest for you. By working together, you can receive the care that you need with the safety and comfort that you deserve.

To find out which sedation method may be best for you, contact the office of Dr. Steven Koos at 312.328.9000 today.

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On September 15th, 2011, posted in: wisdom tooth removal by


Wisdom teeth removal: Common questions and answers

wisdom tooth removal chicagoThe time to have wisdom teeth removed is not a choice that most patients look forward to making. With so many exaggerated horror stories, myths, and uncertainties out there that are propagated online, it can be hard to know what to think about this procedure. Fortunately, having your wisdom tooth removed in Chicago doesn’t have to be stressful at all. Dr. Steven Koos, your dual-degree oral surgeon with vast experience extracting wisdom teeth, will make sure that you are well informed prior to the procedure, answering all of your questions, relieving your fears and truly dispelling the myths.


Do the wisdom teeth have to be removed? It can be tough to determine the fate of the wisdom teeth without a thorough examination. Generally, if the teeth are unable to erupt properly, they may be recommended for extraction. This may be due to the angle of the teeth (wisdom teeth that are angled sideways or backwards are less likely to grow in normally), or the size of the jaw (patients with small jawbones tend to lack the space necessary for a third set of molars).


Wisdom teeth that are unable to erupt properly may be partially or completely covered by gum tissue and bone. This condition, known as impaction, may put patients at risk for infections, cysts, and damage to the jaw bone. Even wisdom teeth that manage to grow into position may be recommended for extraction if they are difficult to keep healthy. Due to their position in the very rear of the mouth, wisdom teeth are frequently infected by tooth decay and periodontal disease. To prevent infection from affecting neighboring teeth, your oral surgeon may recommend the wisdom teeth for extraction.


How will it feel? Will there be pain? How will the sedation feel? There are many techniques used to make your procedure more comfortable for you. During the procedure, you can expect to be completely sleeping, and therefore, unable to feel any sharp sensations, pressure, noises, or pain. The beginning of the experience in the operating room starts with some laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and a tiny pinch for an I.V. for the administration of sedative medications. Within moments you will drift off into a peaceful quiet sleep only to awake a short time later with the entire procedure comfortably performed. After your treatment, the oral surgeon will provide complete post-operative instructions and supplies for uneventful healing.


To find out more about wisdom tooth removal in Chicago, schedule your consultation with Dr. Koos at ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio today.

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On August 1st, 2011, posted in: wisdom tooth by

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