Exposure of Impacted Teeth
An impacted tooth is a tooth that cannot erupt or function; it is often the third molar (wisdom) teeth which become impacted. There is rarely a functional need for wisdom teeth, they are only extracted by oral surgeons when they develop problems.
The maxillary cuspid (upper eyetooth) is the second most common tooth to become impacted. It is a critical tooth and plays an important role in your “bite.” These teeth are very strong biting teeth and have the longest roots; they are designed to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite. It is the maxillary cuspid teeth which are the last of the “front” teeth to erupt into place at age 13 and cause any space left between the upper front teeth to close tighter together. If a cuspid tooth becomes impacted, every effort is made to get it to erupt into its proper position. The techniques involved to aid eruption can be applied to any impacted tooth in the upper or lower jaw, but most commonly they are applied to the maxillary cuspid (upper eye) teeth.
Early Recognition Of Impacted Eyeteeth Is The Key To Successful Treatment
As a patient ages, it is unlikely that an impacted eye-tooth erupts on its own, even if there is space available. Panoramic X-rays taken during your dental examination will determine whether all the adult teeth are present or if some are missing.
Treatment may require referral to an oral surgeon for extraction of over-retained baby teeth and/or selected adult teeth that are blocking the eruption of the all-important eyeteeth. The oral surgeon may need to remove any extra teeth (supernumerary teeth) or growths that are blocking the eruption of any adult teeth.
Successful Treatment According to Patient's Age:
- 11-12 years old: there is enough space available at this age for eruption and a good chance for success.
- 13-14 years old: the impacted eye-tooth will not erupt by itself even with sufficient space cleared for its eruption.
- Over 40 years old: there is a much higher chance that the tooth will be fused in position leaving the only option to extract the impacted tooth and replace it with a crown on a dental implant.