An impacted tooth is one that becomes lodged in jawbone, unable to emerge properly. Cuspids, on either side of the frontmost four teeth, are commonly called “canines” due to their pointed shape. Because they are usually the last anterior teeth to erupt, they may get stuck, especially in a crowded arch. Maxillary (upper) cuspids are among the most likely to become impacted, second only to wisdom teeth. This condition can be expertly addressed at Stevenson, Fairchild & Surber OMS in Valparaiso & Merrillville, IN.
Why not just pull impacted teeth?
While extraction is an option, it usually isn’t the best one. These strong teeth have long roots, deeply embedded in bone, providing stability for gripping and chewing food. They are important to proper alignment and bite. Missing teeth are also quite noticeable in the smile. Our surgeons make every effort to help impacted canines find their proper position in the dental arch.
Statistically, more than half of upper teeth impactions are inside the mouth, in the palate. In other cases, they are wedged in bone in front and above adjacent teeth. Impaction may occur on one side or both.
A wait-and-see approach might be appropriate for a child patient. However, likelihood that an impacted teeth will come through on its own, or that it will have adequate space in the arch, diminishes dramatically by about age 13 when bone hardens. After age 40, teeth become fused to bone.
How impacted teeth are addressed in Valparaiso & Merrillville, IN
Proper treatment of impacted teeth requires collaborative effort:
- It is important for your general dentist to monitor development as early as age seven, to identify potential impaction and remove over-retained primary teeth blocking eruption of canines.
- For younger patients, orthodontics may create enough space for canines to drop naturally into place.
- Adults may need the services of an oral and maxillofacial specialist to extract non-essential secondary teeth.
- The oral surgeon opens gum and bone tissue to expose the impacted tooth so that it may be repositioned with braces. This is a straightforward procedure performed on site at the surgeon’s office.
Preserve the future of your smile with treatment for impacted teeth now. Call (219) 307-4382 to schedule an appointment.