As our baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth around the age of four or five, teeth can get stuck or impacted as they try to break through the gum. These impacted teeth either come in partially or not at all, remaining trapped in the gum tissue or bone. The most likely teeth to become impacted are:
- Third molar (wisdom tooth): These are removed during a common procedure called a wisdom tooth extraction. However, if other molars are impacted, then an orthodontist may need to shift the impacted tooth using braces.
- Canine (cuspid): Located between the incisors and molars, the cuspid is an important part of your bite and are the first teeth to touch when your jaws close, aligning the rest of your teeth into a proper bite.
While any of your other teeth can become impacted, the canines and third molar are the most likely to require treatment to prevent troublesome symptoms.
When Should I Seek Treatment for My Impacted Teeth?
The best time to treat impacted teeth is after your permanent teeth have come in or if you experience any painful symptoms related to your impacted tooth. San Francisco patients who are over 40 are more likely to experience fusion of the impacted tooth. In this case, the tooth will remain in a fixed position despite the efforts of an orthodontist and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.
Recent studies have shown that treatment for any impacted teeth aside from wisdom teeth should start at a younger age. San Francisco patients should be referred to an orthodontist or Maxillofacial Surgeon if their dentist suspects any potential eruption problem.
How Do You Treat Impacted Teeth?
Although assisting the impacted tooth to erupt is the preferred treatment method, certain cases will require that an impacted tooth be removed and replaced with a crown affixed to a dental implant or fixed bridge.
Treatment for the impacted tooth can be used on any impacted tooth in the upper or lower jaw. Factors that affect the approach to impacted teeth are:
- Location: 60% of impacted teeth are located on the roof of your mouth. The remaining are trapped in an elevated position above the roots of neighboring teeth or the facial side of the dental arch. Incisors and canines (anterior teeth) are the easiest to erupt because they are small and have single roots.
- Fit: If your tooth has room to erupt then the dentist will apply techniques to remove any baby teeth or growths blocking eruption.
- Timing: The sooner your impacted tooth is diagnosed and treated, the less invasive and more successful treatment will be.
Treatment for impacted teeth may need to be performed by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon for more complicated cases.