WHAT ARE IMPACTED TEETH?
TYPES OF IMPACTED TEETH
The wisdom teeth are the most likely teeth to become impacted. These teeth normally come in between the ages of 17-21, and often result in impaction because the jaw has stopped growing by this stage.
Upper canine/maxillary cuspid teeth are the second most likely teeth to become impacted. If these teeth are impacted, your dentist is likely to recommend orthodontics treatments to help them erupt into position rather than remove them completely.
IMPACTED BABY TEETH
An impacted baby tooth is very rare. It is more likely that an over-retained baby tooth will cause issues and push an adult tooth out of position. This can happen when a baby tooth becomes submerged in the gum line and causes the adult teeth to become impacted or grow at irregular angles.
IMPACTED WISDOM TEETH
An impacted tooth is a tooth that is blocked and fails to erupt into the dental arch. Wisdom teeth get impacted more often. However, upper canines or maxillary teeth can also be blocked and unable to emerge into position properly. Human teeth develop at different stages and the timing of this process can sometimes result in impaction if the mouth or the jaw has not grown enough to fit the new adult teeth.
IMPACTED CANINE TEETH
Impacted canine teeth affect around 2% of Australians. The canine has thicker, more conical roots and the last to fully erupt into position. This makes them susceptible to being stuck in the gums and resulting in impaction.
Impacted canines are painless but if not treated immediately, they can create problems in the future, both physically and emotionally. An impacted canine may damage tooth structures and cause loss of confidence, especially at an early age.
There are several factors that can cause impacted canines. In some cases, there’s an extra tooth that leaves no room for the canine to erupt. Poor alignment of the front teeth can also block the tooth. Finally, soft tissue and other unusual growths in the gum can prevent the progress of the cuspid tooth and result in impaction.
SYMPTOMS OF IMPACTED TEETH
Impacted teeth may or may not cause immediate symptoms, but can result in a more serious condition later on if left untreated. The symptoms of impacted teeth can include:
- Swollen or bleeding gums
- Difficulty or pain when eating or opening your mouth
- A bad taste in your mouth
CAUSES OF IMPACTED TEETH
Most of the time, an impacted tooth will occur when your mouth does not have enough space for it. Wisdom teeth often become impacted because they develop later on, when the jaw has stopped growing. Other reasons for impaction include:
- An injury to the mouth or jaw
- Baby teeth that have stayed in the mouth too long or have become submerged in the gum and are blocking the adult tooth from moving into position
- Teeth that are growing irregularly or at an angle
- Having extra teeth (supernumerary teeth)
CONSEQUENCES OF IMPACTED TEETH
People with impacted teeth are at a greater risk for issues such as cavities, decay and infection because they may not be able to clean or care for the impacted teeth correctly. Impacted teeth can also result in overcrowding or damage to the other teeth, which may require further orthodontics treatment later on.
ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT OPTIONS
DIAGNOSIS AND ASSESSMENT BY A DENTIST
At North Shore Periodontics, we specialise in treating your impacted tooth with up-to-date tools and techniques. This process includes a combination of surgical exposure and orthodontic banding to place your tooth where it needs to be.
Our Sydney orthodontists will begin the procedure with a series of visual examinations and X-ray scans to determine the exact location of the impacted tooth. Next, an orthodontist will create some space in the dental arch by cutting gum tissue to expose the impacted tooth. Finally, we will begin to reposition the impacted tooth with specific treatment – which can include braces and/or surgery.
If you are at an age where your teeth, mouth and jaw are still growing and developing, braces might be the recommended treatment. An experienced dentist or orthodontist will provide advice on whether this treatment is necessary and how it will work.
If you’re experiencing severe pain with the impacted tooth or if it is negatively affecting other teeth; e.g. causing overcrowding or irregular growth, extraction surgery may be necessary to resolve the impaction.
The procedure for wisdom teeth removal generally takes 45-60 mins, while the recovery process usually takes 7-10 days.
Our professional team will offer advice about which orthodontic treatment plan is right for you and provide you with as much information as you need.
HOW DOES NORTH SHORE PERIODONTICS TREAT AN IMPACTED CANINE TOOTH?
WAITING AND MONITORING
If you don’t have any pain or unpleasant symptoms with your impacted tooth, the orthodontist may suggest that they monitor it for a while to see if any problems develop before intervening.
An X-ray may be necessary, but regular dental check-ups should be sufficient. The dentist will gather information before proceeding with a specific approach.
There are two kinds of oral surgeries that can be performed to encourage the impacted tooth to erupt without needing to remove it.
OPEN ERUPTION PROCEDURE
In this procedure, your dentist or oral surgeon will surgically expose the crown of the impacted tooth. From here, the dentist can directly visualise and plan the growth process of the specific tooth.
CLOSED ERUPTION PROCEDURE
In a closed eruption procedure, the dentist or orthodontist will surgically uncover the tooth and then place an orthodontic attachment with a chain extending from it. This contraption will help to prompt regular tooth eruption.
Eruption aids can refer to any orthodontic treatment that stimulates the tooth eruption process. This includes braces and/or the extraction of over-retained baby teeth, supernumerary teeth or adult teeth that are blocking the path of the impacted tooth.
BRACES AND INVISALIGN
It is possible to treat certain cases of impacted teeth with Invisalign, but in some circumstances braces would be a much better option. Some patients will need braces in order to make space for the impacted tooth.
COMPLICATIONS/RISKS OF IMPACTED TEETH
Leaving an impacted tooth untreated can cause a number of complications and health concerns. These issues include:
- The development of cysts in or around the gum
- Overcrowding and irregular growth, requiring braces or Invisalign later in life
- Jaw pain
- Damage to neighbouring teeth
- Infection of a tooth or in the gum line
SHOULD AN IMPACTED TOOTH BE REMOVED?
An impacted tooth will not always need to be removed, but most of the time you will need to receive some form of orthodontic treatment. Extraction will not be necessary if eruption stimulation methods prove successful or if the tooth is able to erupt on its own. Your orthodontist will advise you on whether or not the impacted tooth needs to be removed.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOUR TOOTH IS IMPACTED?
You may experience symptoms such as tooth pain, difficulty chewing or biting and swelling in your gums, or you may be able to see the impacted tooth when you look in the mirror. In some cases, an orthodontist may need to perform an x-ray to confirm the presence of impacted teeth.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FIX AN IMPACTED TOOTH?
The cost of your treatment will vary depending on the complexity and duration of procedures required. An extraction can cost up to $500 depending on the difficulty of the surgery and the type of anaesthetic used. If braces are the recommended treatment, this could cost more. Your orthodontist will advise you on the cost of your treatment plan.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BRING DOWN AN IMPACTED CANINE TOOTH?
This will depend on the type of treatment used. If your dentist or orthodontist recommends oral surgery, the process will likely be faster than using braces.
Fix your impacted teeth today. Call our orthodontists on (02) 9809 6888 for more information or use our contact form for inquiries and appointment requests.