When a tooth is impacted, it is essentially “stuck” and unable to erupt out of the bone and gums in a proper manner. Two types of teeth are most commonly impacted: wisdom teeth and the upper canines (also known as the eye tooth). While these are the most common, other teeth can become impacted as they develop as well. At Western Pennsylvania Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we work closely with your general dentist and orthodontist to save your teeth and guide them into a proper position. If your impacted teeth cannot be saved, we will often have to surgically remove them. In most cases, wisdom teeth are always removed as there is little room for them to grow in and the mouth functions just fine without them. The earlier we can identify an impacted tooth in a patient, the better the treatment success.
The canine teeth are very important to the function and development of the jaw. These are the pointed teeth in your mouth and they are designed to be the first ones that touch as you close your mouth, which guides the rest of the jaw and teeth into the proper place. In some cases, there is not enough space between teeth for these canines to erupt properly, leading them to become impacted. If these canines are blocked by supernumerary teeth (baby teeth), then we can gently extract these extra teeth to allow the permanent canine to grow without impaction. If the tooth remains impacted and will not come out, we can work with an orthodontist to uncover the tooth from the gum tissue and have an orthodontic bracket applied to guide the tooth down.
Correcting impacted teeth at a young age is always the best course of action as it allows the jaw and tissues to heal and adjust while they are still developing. Patients over the age of 40 who still have impacted teeth may experience complications with this procedure. As we age, our teeth and bones start to fuse together, leading to the impacted and mispositioned tooth being unable to be adjusted through orthodontics at all. In these situations, our team can carefully remove the fused tooth and work with you to replace the tooth with a dental implant so that you still maintain full function and aesthetics.
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