Causes for Concern with Impacted Teeth

causes for concern with impacted teeth

Impacted teeth are those that cannot erupt properly into their place in the mouth. They are typically stuck in the process of eruption. In children, these teeth can be anywhere, but they typically show up in adults’ third molar position, known as wisdom teeth. Also commonly impacted is the maxillary cuspid, or upper eyetooth, closer to the front of your bite.

We have all heard about wisdom teeth; we all know most of us need to have them removed. But why? What is the reason we cannot live forever with impacted teeth in our mouths? Why can they not erupt properly? Especially when it comes to wisdom teeth that hide in the back of the mouth, what is the risk of keeping them? We have all the answers:

What can impacted teeth do to your bite?

Imagine inviting another person to a table with the optimal amount of seats around it. The rest of the group has to shuffle, some staggering back and forth, to make room for the extra chair. The same is true of your teeth. If an extra tooth is trying to erupt without enough space, it can cause crowding of your other teeth, which can appear to be overlapping or protruding. This crowding can undo years of orthodontic work if you do not treat the condition as soon as you notice the problem.

How do impacted teeth affect your jaw and oral health?

Pain, pressure and the risk of infection can all have an effect not only on the impacted tooth itself but on your overall oral health as well. Your gums are at risk of redness, tenderness, swelling and bleeding. You may even contract oral infections just by leaving an impacted tooth untreated, which may cause serious complications for your overall health.

How can you detect an impacted tooth?

While you may be lucky and have your dentist or oral hygienist catch the impacted tooth during your semi-annual appointment, it is important to notice these clear signs that something is off with your oral health. The following are common symptoms of tooth impaction:

  • Gums that are swollen, tender or bleeding
  • Swelling or pain around your jaw
  • Halitosis (bad breath) or a consistent bad taste in your mouth
  • Issues with jaw mobility or TMJ complications

Can impacted teeth be dangerous?

Contrary to popular belief, a dental emergency is not only an extreme like a knocked out tooth or broken jaw. A dental emergency can be an infection that needs immediate attention but may not be immediately apparent.

Impacted teeth can cause infections like perisoronitis if the tooth partially erupts and then becomes inflamed (usually by food). This condition can cause infection that affects your health beyond your teeth.

Crowding caused by an erupted impacted tooth not only puts you at risk for further orthodontic work. Overcrowding can eventually lead to tooth decay and affect your bite, causing you to struggle with chewing and speaking. Because your teeth can shift so quickly, it is important to treat your impacted teeth immediately.

How can we help?

At the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts, we are lucky to have Dr. Elias, Los Angeles’ leading oral maxillofacial surgeon, who is known for the excellent care he takes of his patients. While most people hate seeing a dentist, Dr. Elias makes it easy to care for your oral health, as he is gentle, informative and precise in his treatments. If you are suffering from an impacted tooth, please feel free to call us today to schedule a consultation. Our staff would be happy to answer any of your questions.

The Southern California Center for Surgical Arts: (818) 696-4425.

Some Wisdom Teeth Wisdom


We have all seen someone who has just gotten their wisdom teeth removed, and what we most associate with this procedure are the “chipmunk cheeks” and temporary liquid diet our friends have had to endure. How many of us actually know what wisdom teeth are and why this surgery is so popular and important? It turns out, very few!

Most of our patients who come in for wisdom tooth removal are unaware of the reasons these teeth are not welcome in our mouths! If you have been told you need your wisdom teeth removed, it is important to know why. Keep yourself informed and maybe boost your excitement (or willingness) for the procedure with this breakdown of wisdom teeth wisdom.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are simply impacted third molars. An impacted tooth is one that is unable to erupt, or fully grow through the gum. For most of us, this impaction is caused by a lack of space in the mouth for this tooth to fully grow in. Therefore, as the molar begins to attempt to erupt, it may cause pressure on the adjacent teeth and begin to shift your bite. Many patients experience soreness, crowding causing the front teeth to protrude, misaligned bite or even infection and cysts in more extreme cases. This is why it is so important to have your wisdom teeth removed before they cause major damage to your mouth.

Because wisdom teeth are the furthest back in the mouth and the last adult teeth to form, they can have a great affect on your already formed bite, especially if braces have already been used to correct your arch. The cost of re-correcting damage that wisdom teeth cause to your now-perfect smile is not ideal, and the sooner these teeth are removed, the better you can preserve the shape of your bite.

What Can I Expect From Surgery?

Wisdom tooth removal surgery is very common, and Dr. Elias has performed them countless times, but it is still important to know that this is a surgical procedure and safety is your number one priority through the entire process.

When you come in for your consultation, Dr. Elias will perform a full examination to determine how he will approach the surgery. Then, he will explain everything to you, the process, the anesthesia and the costs associated. He wants you to feel completely comfortable with your surgery.

Dr. Elias will discuss with you the anesthesia options for the surgery, some surgeries can be performed under local anesthesia, others will need to be performed under deep sedation or general anesthesia. The surgery typically takes 45-60 minutes, after which you are free to go home with a parent or trusted adult. As you may know from experience with friends and family, you will experience swelling, pain and soreness over the next few days, but it is important to follow after-care instructions to alleviate these symptoms. We insist that you follow the directions Dr. Elias gives you and not take advice from friends and family, as every mouth is different, and he will be able to guide you to treating your unique case with care.

Possibly Your Most Burning Question…

Why are wisdom teeth called wisdom teeth? Well, because they typically grow between your mid-teenage years and mid-twenties, they are often associated with attaining wisdom, hence wisdom teeth. Doctors have a sense of humor too, you know!

If you have been advised by your dentist or your orthodontist to have your wisdom teeth removed or are experiencing soreness in your jaw or bite shifting, contact the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts to schedule a consultation for your procedure: (818) 696-4425.