Exposure of Impacted Teeth

What is an impacted tooth?

An impacted tooth simply means that it is “stuck” and cannot erupt into function. Patients frequently develop problems with impacted third molar (wisdom) teeth. These teeth get “stuck” in the back of the jaw and can develop painful infections, among a host of other problems (see Wisdom Teeth under Procedures). Since there is rarely a functional need for wisdom teeth, they are usually extracted if they develop problems. The maxillary cuspid (upper eyetooth) is the second most common tooth to become impacted. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth and plays an important role in your “bite”. The cuspid teeth are very strong biting teeth and have the longest roots of any human teeth. 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.

Normally, the maxillary cuspid teeth are the last of the “front” teeth to erupt into place. They usually come into place around age 13 and cause any space left between the upper front teeth to close tighter together. If a cuspid tooth gets 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. Sixty percent of these impacted eyeteeth are located on the palatal (roof of the mouth) side of the dental arch. The remaining impacted eye teeth are found in the middle of the supporting bone, but are stuck in an elevated position above the roots of the adjacent teeth, or are out to the facial side of the dental arch.

Early Recognition of Impacted Eyeteeth Is the Key to Successful Treatment

The older the patient the more likely an impacted eyetooth will not erupt by natural forces alone, even if the space is available for the tooth to fit in the dental arch. A panoramic x-ray, along with a dental examination, will help determine whether all the adult teeth are present or if some adult teeth 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 will also need to remove any extra teeth (supernumerary teeth) or growths that are blocking the eruption of any adult teeth.

Impacted tooth success by patient’s age:

  • 11-12 years old – with space opened for eruption, good chance for success.
  • 13-14 years old – the impacted eyetooth will not erupt by itself, even with the space cleared for its eruption.
  • Over 40 years old – much higher chance that the tooth will be fused in position. The only option is to extract the impacted tooth and replace it with a crown on a dental implant or a fixed bridge.

What happens if the eyetooth will not erupt when proper space is available?

In cases where the eyeteeth will not erupt spontaneously, the orthodontist and oral surgeon will work together to get these teeth to erupt. Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis, but treatment will usually involve a combined effort between the orthodontist and the oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will expose and bracket the impacted eyetooth.

The goal is to erupt the impacted tooth and not to extract it. Once the tooth has moved into its final position, the gum around it will be evaluated. In some circumstances, there may be some minor “gum surgery” required.

Exposure and Bracketing of an Impacted Cuspid

What to expect from surgery to expose & bracket an impacted tooth

The surgery to expose and bracket an impacted tooth is a very straightforward surgical procedure that is performed in the oral surgeon’s office. For most patients, it is performed using local anesthesia in conjunction with I.V. sedation or general anesthesia.  If the procedure only requires exposing the tooth with no bracketing, the time required will be shortened by about one half. These issues will be discussed in detail at your preoperative consultation with your doctor.

Refer to Preoperative Instructions under Surgical Instructions on this website for a review of any details. Simply call Yakima Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at Yakima Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Office Phone Number 509-965-8911 if you have any questions.

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5 out of 5 stars based on 6 Exposure of Impacted Teeth reviews

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Dr Hudson was very kind and explained what needed to be done. He did a biopsy, which came back with a not so great diagnosis, he took the time to call and schedule an appointment with my primary care physician. If i could give him 150 stats it wouldnt be enough. THANK YOU Dr. !

- Christopher O

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I will happily and very enthusiastically refer Dr. Kevin Hudson to all friends in the Yakima area who may have oral surgery needs. He greeted me warmly, put me at ease right away, and took the time to go over my somewhat unusual and perplexing evaluation with a kind, caring, and extremely knowledgeable attitude that I truly appreciated. There was no rushing or pushiness in his tone, and I felt heard and appreciated in return. We even laughed! What a treasure of a physician. Just go!

- Sandra D

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I've had a fear of dentists all throughout my life. I was amazed with how Dr. Topper was able to completely disarm my anxiety. The supporting staff are absolutely stellar professionals, and I am very glad to have been treated so kindly by everyone! Yakima Oral Surgery has helped transform my health and wellbeing. And, for that I will be forever grateful!

- David C

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Dr. Hudson was very personable and right away put me at ease. He explained the procedure and what to expect very clearly. The extraction(s) was pain free and I healed more quickly than expected.

- Carol D

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Dr. Hudson pulled the wisdom teeth of two of our children. We were really happy with the care and attention he gave both our boys before, during and after the surgery. The staff at the office were attentive and professional. Post Op instructions were clear and detailed. I would totally recommend Dr. Hudson and his office for wisdom teeth.

- Shekufeh H

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hands down the best dental experience I had ever had in my life. I would recommended Dr. Kevin to anyone who ask me for a oral surgeon. thank you to the staff for being amazing since day one. Thank you for checking up on me after my surgery to make sure I was doing good. I have no words to express how amazing my experience was. There is no other place to go for your oral surgery then to see Dr. Kevin. If people ask me where to go I don't hesitate to tell them to Yakima Oral surgery to see Dr. Kevin.

- Sandra v

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