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Wisdom Teeth

    By the age of eighteen, the average adult has 32 teeth, yet the average mouth is made to hold only 28. These four other teeth are your third molars, most commonly called “wisdom teeth”.

    Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt, usually between age 17 and 25. When they align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. If they position themselves sideways, partially emerge, or become embedded between the gum and bone, they can cause not only pain but damage to adjacent teeth, the jawbone, and nerves. If they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and may eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness.

What to expect?

    If your general dentist or orthodontist suspects problems with your wisdom teeth, he will refer you to our office for a complete consultation.

    In most cases, wisdom teeth are removed under conscious sedation, also called twilight sleep.

Once the procedure is completed, you will recover under our careful supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. You will need to arrange for an escort to drive you to and from our office on the day of the operation. Upon discharge you will receive postoperative instructions, (link to Forms & Policies page) a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics if necessary, and a follow-up appointment.

    We will contact you later in the day to see how you are recovering and answer any questions.

Impacted Canines

    An impacted tooth simply means that it is “stuck” and cannot erupt through your gums into its proper place.
The maxillary cuspid (upper canine) is second only to wisdom teeth as the most common tooth to become impacted. The cuspid tooth is a critical tooth in the dental arch and is designed by nature to be the first teeth that touch when your jaws close together so that they guide the rest of the teeth into the proper bite. If a cuspid tooth is impacted, every effort is made to help it erupt into its proper position.
    The older the patient, the more likely an impacted canine will not erupt by nature’s forces alone even if the space is available for the tooth to fit into its proper place. If your general dentist or orthodontist sees problems with an impacted tooth, he will refer you to our office for a complete consultation.

What to Expect?

    Treatment involves a combined effort between the orthodontist and the oral surgeon. Sometimes an oral surgeon will extract baby teeth or selected adult teeth that are blocking the eruption of your canines. Usually, your orthodontist will place braces on the teeth (at least the upper arch) and open up a space for the impacted tooth to be moved into its proper position. Once the space is ready, the orthodontist will refer the patient to our office to have the impacted canine exposed and bracketed.
    The procedure is performed under local anesthesia or light sedation. The gum on top of the impacted tooth will be lifted up to expose the hidden tooth underneath. Once the tooth is exposed, the oral surgeon will attach an orthodontic bracket with a miniature gold chain to the exposed tooth. The oral surgeon will then attach the chain to the braces.
Once the procedure is completed, the patient recovers under careful supervision in our office until the patient is ready to be taken home. See our postoperative (link to Forms & Policies page) instructions for home care and comfort.
    A few days after surgery, the patient will return to the orthodontist. A small rubber band will be attached to the chain to provide gentle pulling pressure on the impacted tooth, and it will slowly move into correct position.

Oral Pathology

    Any suspicious lesion of the mouth and supporting structures noticed by your dentist will often require further investigation by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. We may need to remove a portion of the lesion and submit it for analysis by a pathologist, a procedure known as a biopsy. Depending on the results of the biopsy, additional treatment may be necessary.
    Dr. Hagan has received advanced training in the management of pathologic lesions and conditions of the maxillofacial region.
    It is also important to do self-examinations of the oral cavity. We recommend for you to do this monthly. If you notice anything abnormal, please discuss this with your dentist. Please do not ignore suspicious oral lumps or sores. You may also contact us so we can help.

TMJ Disorder

    TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your complex jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles (muscles of mastication) do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.
    No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective.
TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your temporomandibular joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the cushion of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth or trouble opening your mouth wide.
    There are multiple treatment options for management of TMJ disorders, both nonsurgical and surgical. It is important to be correctly diagnosed before treatments are started. Please contact us to schedule a TMJ evaluation.

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