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Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth are teeth that don’t manage to break free of the gums they are growing within. Any teeth can be impacted teeth and it is quite common for the rear molars, better known as wisdom teeth, to remain impacted within the gum line.

Are impacted teeth a problem?

Impacted teeth, and what should be done about them, is still a somewhat controversial topic amongst dentists. It is generally recognised that all teeth should be encouraged to grow normally in a direction which doesn’t interrupt the healthy existence of teeth that have already emerged in the mouth. Whether impacted teeth prove to be a health risk and whether they should be removed using surgery is something that has to be assessed on a case by case basis. In some situations it may be quite satisfactory to leave an impacted tooth where it is and in other situations it may be advised that it should be removed. Removing an impacted tooth can be a serious surgical procedure done under general anaesthesia.

When teeth should emerge

Most teeth emerge at some time after the first (milk) teeth have dropped out, but it can take several years for all the adult teeth to fully develop. Usually, it is the four wisdom teeth that are the last to emerge, but in the situation of an impacted tooth, any one of the four main types of tooth may stay impacted.

Normally, when a child visits his or her Oakville, Ontario dentist regularly for a check up or routine dental treatment, the dentist will check on how well the child’s teeth are growing. One of the things that will be particularly well looked at is whether there are any suspected impacted teeth. Regular visits to the dentist allow any future problems to be identified early and a solution to the problem advised.

Emphasis on impacted canines

Some impacted teeth are more noticeable than others, so it will usually be advised that impacted canines, for instance, are operated on to allow them to grow correctly. Canines are the pointy teeth (2 on each jaw) at the sides of the incisors – the front teeth. Canines fulfil an important role in the mouth as they are used to grip and tear up food and also affect the person’s appearance. This is why their emergence is encouraged.

If your Oakville, Ontario dentist feels that surgery should be performed on the impacted tooth you may be referred to an orthodontist as well as an oral and maxilla-facial surgeon for treatment.