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What is an Impacted Tooth

  • Synopsis: Published: 2009-08-14 (Rev. 2015-04-22) - When a tooth is impacted it means the tooth has become stuck in a position where it is unable to emerge normally. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Dr. Reubel at
Impacted Tooth

If a tooth fails to come in or emerges only partially, it is considered to be impacted. In many people, wisdom teeth are unable to grow in normally. The teeth either become stuck under the gum or are only able to partially break through the gum. Dentists call these teeth impacted.

Main Document

Quote: "No matter which teeth become impacted, it is essential that you then make an appointment to see an oral surgeon as soon as possible."

Essentially, when a tooth is said to be impacted, it means the tooth has become stuck in a position where it's unable to emerge in a normal manner.

As you may already know, wisdom teeth are the most common teeth to become impacted, followed by one's upper eyetooth or maxillary cuspid.

No matter which teeth become impacted, it is essential that you then make an appointment to see an oral surgeon as soon as possible. Bear in mind that your upper eyetooth is in fact a critical one in that it is situated in the dental arch and it plays an important role with regards to your bite. In fact, these teeth play a huge role in that they are incredibly strong and also because they have the longest roots. Furthermore, because these teeth are designed in such a way so that they touch first, they end up guiding all your other teeth in order to form a proper bite. Of course, if these teeth become damaged, it results in your bite becoming disrupted and other complications can then follow. In that case it will be essential to see a dental surgeon in order to have the problem fixed.

The maxillary cuspid teeth are also commonly the last teeth to emerge, usually when one reaches the age of about thirteen. At this point the teeth emerge and help to close any spaces which may be left between the top teeth. Of course, when you go and see a dental surgeon they will be able to tell you more about this process and they will also be able to advise you whether or not your teeth have emerged correctly. If for some reason your maxillary cuspid teeth are impacted, a maxillofacial surgeon will do whatever they can in order to make the tooth emerge correctly and become rooted in its proper position.

Nowadays there are a number of techniques which are used in order to rectify emerged teeth.

For the most part, these techniques can be used for any tooth that is impacted although they are most commonly used for working with maxillary cuspid teeth. In fact, there is now a dedicated surgery which is used specifically to expose and bracket impacted teeth.

Generally speaking, the surgery is pretty straight forward with no complicated procedures and is more often than not carried out in the office of a dental surgeon. However, before the procedure takes place, the maxillofacial surgeon may recommend local anesthesia, although many people opt for intravenous sedation instead.

If you have any concerns with regards to your maxillary cuspid teeth then you should make an appointment to go and see a dental surgeon who will be able to offer you advice with regards to everything you need to know.

In most cases, when you go to have impacted removed or repaired, the dental surgeon will first take X-rays so as to allow them to examine your teeth properly. Of course, if you've had X-rays taken elsewhere recently, then you should take them with you to show to the dental surgeon because it can save you some time and money.

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Information from our Dental: Teeth Facts and Information section - (Full List).

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