Treating Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When the third molars do not have enough room to emerge correctly, they can cause a wide range of dental problems, ranging from pain to crowding and tooth decay. If impacted wisdom teeth are compromising your or your child's oral health, Dr. Dustin J. Hopkin may recommend tooth extraction at our Salt Lake City, UT, practice. Dr. Hopkin is a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, meaning he has the necessary training and experience to handle even the most complex cases.
Impacted teeth can cause serious issues and also require a more skilled approach than simpler wisdom tooth extractions.
Diagnosing Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Wisdom teeth typically emerge when patients are in their late teens or early 20s. In many cases, the third molars can become trapped (impacted). If the tooth partially emerges, it is said to be partially impacted. When the third molar cannot emerge at all, it is said to be fully impacted.
Dr. Hopkin uses state-of-the-art dental technology, such as 3D imaging systems, for precise diagnoses and treatment planning.
Many of our patients notice the symptoms of their impacted teeth before receiving treatment. Other individuals may not notice that their wisdom teeth are causing dental problems until Dr. Hopkin observes the signs of impacted wisdom teeth during the patient’s dental examination.
During your exam at our Salt Lake City dental clinic, Dr. Hopkin may take x-rays or other images to confirm your condition. Dr. Hopkin uses state-of-the-art dental technology, such as 3D imaging equipment, which allows him to create the most comprehensive and individualized treatment plans. He may also look for or ask you about:
- Bleeding gums
- Red or swollen gums
- Jaw pain
- Difficulty opening the mouth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should reach out to our clinic immediately. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to a host of complications, some of which can be very serious.
Left untreated, wisdom teeth have the potential to cause a wide range of dental problems. A few of these may include:
- Crowding: Many young patients are surprised to learn that wisdom teeth can cause teeth crowding. If your child recently underwent orthodontic treatment, the cosmetic benefits are at risk of being undone if there is not adequate room for their third molars to emerge.
- Tooth damage: As the wisdom tooth tries to emerge, it may push against the neighboring second molars. This pressure has the potential to crack or damage the second molar.
- Decay: A partially impacted wisdom tooth is at a higher risk for tooth decay and eventually cavities. Wisdom teeth are harder to clean, meaning food and bacteria can become trapped in the gums surrounding these teeth.
- Periodontal issues: Partially impacted third molars place the patient at a higher risk for developing gum disease.
Extraction Can Protect Your Oral Health
In some cases, wisdom teeth emerge with no coinciding dental problems. However, Dr. Hopkin will most likely recommend removing impacted teeth with or without the presentation of symptoms. Tooth extraction is performed with local anesthesia and, in some cases, patients might also choose to undergo sedation.
Schedule a Consultation
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious dental problems, but the condition is highly treatable. Millions of wisdom tooth extractions are safely performed every year. Extractions are typically covered by insurance, but our office also accepts CareCredit® financing and in-house payment plans. To schedule your or your child's examination, contact our Salt Lake City office online or call (801) 277-3942.