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What is an impacted tooth?

An impacted tooth is a tooth that is stuck and cannot erupt into function. The canine tooth is a critical tooth in the dental arch. It plays an important role in your bite. Your canine teeth are designed to be the first teeth that touch when you close your jaw and guide the rest of your teeth into the proper bite. It is also the second most common tooth to become impacted!

What happens if the canine is impacted?

Your orthodontist and oral surgeon will work closely to develop an individualized treatment plan to allow the canine to erupt. Typically, your orthodontist will place braces on your teeth to create a space for the impacted canine to moved down into. Once the space is ready, the oral surgeon will expose the impacted tooth and place a bracket with a chain attached to it. If there is a baby tooth present, it will be extracted at this time. Shortly after surgery, you will return to see your orthodontist. Your orthodontist will attach a rubber band to the chain and begin the process of moving the tooth into its proper place.

How long does it take, and will I be awake?

Many patients choose to go to sleep for this procedure as it makes it more comfortable for them. The oral surgery procedure takes about 45 minutes. The actual process of moving the canine tooth into its position in your dental arch can take up to a year. Your orthodontist will advise you as to how long they anticipate your treatment taking.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their teens or early twenties. Very often, they are misaligned or impacted and require removal. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves. They are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.

What does it mean if they are impacted?

Wisdom teeth also can be impacted when they are enclosed within the gums and/or the jawbone or only partially break through or erupt through the gum. Partial eruption of the wisdom teeth allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness.

Do I need my wisdom teeth out?

Your dentist may take a panoramic x-ray to evaluate the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth and refer you to Dr. Falke for extraction. Your oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed, and the bone is less dense.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

The relative ease at which your oral surgeon can extract your wisdom teeth depends on their position and stage of development. Your oral surgeon will discuss general anesthesia and be able to give you an idea of what to expect during your consultation. Wisdom teeth often require an incision into the gums and then removal of a portion of bone. The teeth will then be extracted in small sections rather than removed in one piece to minimize the amount of bone that needs to be removed to get the tooth out. Most people are back to normal activities within three to five days of the surgery.