An impacted tooth is one that has failed to erupt normally into the mouth and remains partially or totally covered by the gums and/or bone. Impactions can be caused by improper position of the developing tooth bud, premature loss of primary teeth, and dental crowding. Third molars, "wisdom teeth," are commonly known to become impacted and unable to erupt. This usually occurs between 16-20 years of age. Additionally, other teeth may become displaced or ectopically erupt in the wrong position.
Most patients are unaware of the presence of ectopic or impacted teeth until diagnosed by their dentist or orthodontist. Dental radiographs (panoramic, periapical, and/or occlusal films) are utilized as diagnostic tools to identify and orient the position of these teeth. Our office treats many patients with teeth that are impacted, ectopic, or both. Most commonly treated are the maxillary cuspids, or "eye teeth," which may be angularly erupting and displaced either high in the vestibule above the front teeth or on the palate.
This problem should be corrected because impacted teeth can:
Impacted and/or ectopic upper cuspids are retrievable most of the time and brought into the dental arch through a multi-disciplined and coordinated effort with our office, your dentist, and/or an oral surgeon. Following a consultation to discuss the pertinent findings from the diagnostic records, the orthodontist will place upper braces (a limited number) prior to the necessary surgical uncovering procedure. The oral surgeon will secure a bracket on the impacted tooth once it is exposed. Often an attached chain or traction line is coupled with the bracket for use by the orthodontist. Three to seven days following the surgical uncovering, traction will be applied to the impacted tooth to begin pulling it into the desired location. Appointments during this time are frequent as the force system requires re-activation. The process customarily takes six to twelve months.
Missing teeth can be the result of congenital absence (the tooth fails to develop), trauma, or dental extractions.
This problem should be corrected because it can:
Depending upon the situation, the space can either be closed with braces or, alternatively, opened for tooth replacement. A bridge or dental implant is used to replace the missing tooth if a space is created.