What is an impacted tooth?
An impacted tooth is one that gets jammed or impacted under the gums and cannot fully erupt and become functional.
Wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted and for that reason, removal is often recommended before they begin to cause problems. The second most common tooth to become impacted is the maxillary cuspid (a.k.a. upper eyetooth). The cuspid teeth play an important role in how we bite and have the longest roots of any human teeth. They also help guide the rest of our teeth into proper alignment since they are the first teeth that touch when our jaws close together. If an upper eyetooth becomes impacted, it is important to get it to erupt into its proper position as soon as possible.
Early Recognition is Key
Panoramic x-rays of the mouth, along with a dental examination by your dentist will help identify impacted or poorly developing eyeteeth. If abnormalities are found, a referral is made to an oral surgeon like Dr. Andrus or Dr. Howard here at Longmont Oral, Facial and Implant Surgery.
The removal of remaining baby teeth and/or adult teeth that are preventing the proper eruption of the impacted eye teeth may be required. Occasionally, Drs. Andrus and Howard may also need to remove any extra teeth (supernumerary teeth) or abnormal growths that are blocking the proper eruption of any other adult teeth.
Once the obstructing teeth are removed, the impacted tooth can be exposed and bracketed in a fashion that will help it be positioned properly. The goal is to avoid removing the impacted tooth if possible so replacement tooth options won’t be necessary.
Successful correction of impacted eyeteeth is more likely if performed in the early teenage years. Unfortunately, as time goes by, the tooth becomes more fused into position and the impacted tooth will likely need to be removed and replaced with a crown, bridge or dental implant.
The process of exposing and bracketing an impacted tooth is a straightforward surgical procedure that is performed in the comfort of our Longmont Oral Surgery office. For most patients, laughing gas and local anesthesia are used for comfort. IV sedation is not usually necessary but can be provided if requested.