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Impacted Tooth Exposure

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What is an impacted or unerupted tooth?

An impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to fully pass through the gum tissues due to an obstruction preventing normal eruption into the mouth. This can occur for several reasons. If a tooth fails to emerge or emerges only partially, it is considered to be impacted. Most common are problems associated with impacted wisdom teeth.

Canine teeth are the second most common teeth to become impacted. If an upper canine tooth becomes impacted, every effort is made to help it to erupt into position because these teeth play a vital role in your dental arch and overall bite. Your canine teeth are the foundation of an esthetic smile and functional occlusion.

Early Detection

Early detection of impacted teeth is the key to successful treatment and may significantly reduce complexity, except for wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth come in with recommendations case by case. In most cases, your general dentist will identify the need for consultation during a routine exam. You may be referred to if a problem is identified, such as:

  • Extreme crowding
  • Too little space available, causing an eruption problem.
  • Extra or missing adult teeth
  • Unusual growths that are blocking the eruption of individual teeth

Treatment of an Impacted Tooth

A tooth that will remain in the mouth will begin with removing gum tissue and bone overlying the tooth. This will create access for Dr. Lee to attach an orthodontic appliance to help the tooth erupt. Depending on the individual case, Dr. Angie Lee might place a periodontal packing over the tooth where it will remain until your post-operative appointment.

If a tooth is recommended for extraction, this may be due to a primary tooth still in position with a permanent tooth trying to come into the same space and/or permanent teeth blocking the tooth's eruption to be brought into place. Typically, extra teeth that will or are impacted are recommended for extraction.