What Are Impacted Canines?
Impacted teeth are simply those that are “stuck”, as in there is not enough room naturally for the tooth to grow in on its own. For most patients these are referred to as “wisdom teeth” and are removed in the late teens or early twenties to allow the back teeth to grow in properly and maintain their function throughout life. These teeth are most commonly the molars, but can also include the maxillary cuspid (upper eyetooth) which plays a key role in your bite, and typically are the last adult teeth to come in. When these teeth are impacted, your dentist or oral surgeon should make efforts to allow these teeth to erupt properly, thus protecting tooth and bite function. These teeth can be located in either arch of the teeth, and are located in the back of the mouth.
Early Treatment Is Key
It’s always best for impacted teeth to be treated early on in order to avoid pain and to protect long-term jaw and bite function. This is why teenagers are the most common patients to undergo wisdom tooth procedures, as this is an ideal age to have these teeth removed to help your adult teeth fully erupt properly. It’s recommended that early in life and through your early years, patients should receive x-rays so that your dentist can determine early in life whether or not you will likely require assistance with tooth eruption later in life. Note that it is very common for patients to require surgical assistance with helping these teeth erupt, and some patients will even be born with extra teeth that may be removed depending on how they impact the function of other teeth. Our team can perform exams to determine any impacted tooth needs. Extra teeth are typically removed to help avoid interference with other teeth, and these teeth should be removed typically in a patient’s early teen or pre-teen years. Impacted teeth can either be assisted in eruption, or may be removed entirely if they may affect the health and function of the other teeth.
Helping Teeth Erupt Correctly
Sometimes, impacted teeth may not erupt properly, or pose a risk to the other teeth if they continue to erupt on their own. Our team at Las Vegas Oral Surgery is able to identify these teeth and provide the best possible treatment solution for either removing these teeth or helping them erupt properly. This will typically be a combined effort between a dentist and an oral surgeon, making Las Vegas Oral Surgery a convenient location as we’re able to provide both specialties in-house. For impacted teeth that require assistance in erupting, a small incision will be made that helps this tooth rise without causing harm to surrounding teeth. This process causes a gap in the gum tissue that gives the tooth room to erupt without interference. Wires may also be added which pull the tooth in the correct direction that will allow for full tooth function once in place. Overtime, the gum tissue that was moved to make room for the tooth will heal on its own. In advanced cases where impacted teeth require additional assistance to move into the correct location, you’ll require several visits to your dentist where they may use rubber bands that help pull the tooth into the correct desired final location. This is a gradual process that can takes several months if not a full year to complete, given that the impacted tooth must be carefully positioned to allow enough space for the tooth to grow in, and your dentist should also oversee this process to ensure that the tooth is moving in the correct direction. Keep in mind that the optimal treatment result is to keep the tooth as opposed to removing it, so this extra time involved can help patients keep this tooth! Every patient case is different, and our team will help you determine whether it’s best to keep or remove impacted teeth, which can depend on the size of the patient’s teeth and other factors, such as jawbone structure.
As stated above, impacted teeth and wisdom teeth should be addressed at an early age to best help the rest of the teeth erupt correctly and leave enough room for these other teeth to grow. This step can be taken either before or after a patient receives braces or other orthodontic treatments. Extra teeth should also be removed at an early age to best ensure that adult teeth grow in correctly and to ensure long-term tooth and bite function. Overall, this process makes future dental and orthodontic treatments much easier both for the patient and their care providers, and makes for a healthier and more functional smile!
If you’re suffering from impacted teeth, or to schedule an orthodontic consultation with our team, get in touch with our veteran dentistry and oral surgery specialists at Las Vegas Oral Surgery today!