Normally, adult teeth emerge smoothly, but sometimes, they get stuck (impacted) under the gum or bone. This condition can lead to infection, decay, and misalignment resulting in long-term complications for oral health. At Foothill Center for Dental Implants and Oral Surgery in Pasadena, CA, we provide a full spectrum of care for impacted teeth, allowing you to enjoy a confident and healthy smile.

What Are Impacted Teeth?

Normally, your adult teeth erupt through the gum tissue in a predictable order, taking their rightful positions in your jaw. However, sometimes a tooth gets stuck, either partially or completely, beneath the gum and bone. This condition is called impaction. The trapped tooth can erupt at an angle, remain buried entirely, or partially emerge from the gum, causing a number of complications.

Meet Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr. Christopher Chan

At Foothill Center for Dental Implants and Oral Surgery, exceptional patient care is our top priority. Dr. Christopher Chan, Board Certified in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, exemplifies this commitment. He is a fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and a member of the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, while maintaining active hospital privileges at Huntington Hospital.

His advanced specialty training and affiliations promote the highest standards of patient comfort, safety, and care. Following your procedure, you will receive Dr. Chan’s personal phone number for any questions or concerns. Our friendly and well-trained team will guide you through each step, making your experience as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

Causes of Impacted Teeth

Several factors can contribute to a tooth becoming impacted:

  • Crowding: This is the most common cause. Your jaw simply may not have enough space to accommodate all your adult teeth comfortably. When this happens, emerging teeth can become crowded and push against one another, causing some to become impacted.
  • Jaw size: In some cases, your jaw may be naturally smaller than usual, lacking the necessary space for all your teeth to erupt properly. This can lead to impaction of wisdom teeth or other adult teeth.
  • Angled eruption: Even if there’s enough space, a tooth bud (developing tooth) might be positioned incorrectly within the jaw. This can cause the tooth to erupt at an odd angle, potentially becoming impacted in the process.
  • Dental blockages: Other teeth, cysts, or tumors in the jaw can act as physical barriers, preventing a tooth from erupting normally and leading to impaction.

Risks and Complications of Impacted Teeth

While some impacted teeth may not cause immediate problems, leaving them untreated can lead to various complications:

  • Infection and decay: Impacted teeth are difficult to clean properly, making them more susceptible to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, potentially causing pain and swelling.
  • Damage to nearby teeth: Impacted teeth can put pressure on surrounding teeth, causing them to shift out of position and become crowded or misaligned. This can affect your bite and overall aesthetics of your smile.
  • Cyst formation: In rare cases, a fluid-filled sac (cyst) can develop around an impacted tooth. This can damage the jawbone and surrounding teeth if left untreated.
  • Nerve damage: There are severe cases where an impacted tooth can put pressure on nerves in the jaw, leading to numbness, tingling, or pain in the face.

Treatment Options for Impacted Teeth

Fortunately, impacted teeth are treatable. The best course of action depends on the severity of the impaction, the location of the tooth, and your individual dental health. Here’s a breakdown of possible treatment approaches:

  • Monitoring: If the impacted tooth isn’t causing any problems and poses minimal risk, Dr. Chan may recommend monitoring the situation with regular X-rays. This allows us to track any changes and intervene if necessary.
  • Surgical exposure and orthodontic treatment: This approach is often used for impacted canine teeth, which are crucial for aesthetics and proper bite function. Dr. Chan will surgically expose the impacted tooth and create a pathway for eruption. Your orthodontist can then use braces or other orthodontic appliances to gently guide the tooth into its proper position within the mouth.
  • Surgical extraction: In some cases, particularly with wisdom teeth or severely impacted teeth, surgical extraction may be the recommended course of action. Dr. Chan, a skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeon, can safely remove the impacted tooth with minimal discomfort.

Why Choose Foothill Center for Dental Implants and Oral Surgery?

We prioritize your comfort and well-being at Foothill Center for Dental Implants and Oral Surgery. Dr. Chan, a highly experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, has the specialty training and advanced technology to diagnose and treat impacted teeth effectively. We offer a compassionate and welcoming environment, ensuring you feel comfortable throughout the treatment process. Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and concerns. Schedule a consultation at our Pasadena, CA office today at (626) 792-3161.