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Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a host of problems, ranging from minor annoyances to serious threats to your oral health.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth: Symptoms and Treatment

If you’re visiting the dentist or oral surgeon regularly, you’ll know from your dental X-rays if you have impacted wisdom teeth.

However, if you haven’t had an oral health examination for some time, you might not be aware of what’s going on with your third molars. If you can recognize the signs of potential wisdom tooth impaction, you can seek out the recommended treatment before you develop serious problems.

Common Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When the third molars are impacted, it means they’re stuck in the gums and cannot erupt completely.

Wisdom tooth impaction doesn’t always create obvious symptoms — some patients are unaware they have a problem until they see the X-rays. However, many patients with impacted teeth share common symptoms such as:

  • Swollen, red or bleeding gums
  • Tenderness and pain at the tooth site
  • Swelling and discomfort in the jaw
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Foul breath
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth

Treatment for Impacted Wisdom Teeth

For patients suffering from the symptoms of wisdom tooth impaction, extraction is the recommended treatment. Removing impacted teeth is an in-office procedure done under anesthesia. In most cases, oral surgeons allow patients to choose oral sedation, laughing gas or intravenous (IV) anesthesia.

Tooth extraction is also the recommended treatment for patients with impacted teeth that aren’t yet causing symptoms or problems.

Impaction can lead to a series of related dental problems, including decay, gum disease, infection, cyst formation and damage to other teeth. Because of these increased oral health risks, oral surgeons almost never advise patients to keep impacted third molars in place.

Can Wisdom Tooth Impaction Be Prevented?

Unfortunately, no, wisdom tooth impaction cannot be prevented. No dentist or oral surgeon has the magic to make third molars emerge properly.

That said, keeping regular appointments for oral health checkups and cleanings allows your dental professional to monitor the growth and eruption of your wisdom teeth. And if your X-rays indicate tooth impaction, the third molars can be removed before any symptoms start to develop.

Are your wisdom teeth showing signs of impaction? Or are you due for a regular oral health examination? For expert care in the greater Salt Lake City area, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

With more than 10 years of experience, our board-certified oral surgeons are specialists in wisdom tooth management. With offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, making an appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is easy and convenient. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to learn more about seeking treatment for impacted wisdom teeth.

Sinus Lift Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Sinus lift surgery, also called sinus augmentation or subantral grafting, adds bone tissue to the upper jaw in the region of the molars and premolars.

Sinus Lift Surgery: Frequently Asked Questions

Because the upper jawbone is close to the maxillary sinuses, subantral graft surgery requires the expertise of a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

When Is Sinus Lift Surgery Necessary?

Sinus augmentation is usually a pre-prosthetic surgery, done to prepare for dental implants.

Patients who need a sinus lift have insufficient bone in the upper jaw to support dental implants. Once a tooth is knocked out or extracted, the surrounding bone begins to degenerate. Eventually, the jaw may not have enough space for replacement tooth roots.

In some cases, the need for sinus augmentation isn’t related to bone loss. The shape and size of the maxillary sinuses vary from person to person. When the sinuses are too close to the jawbone, subantral graft surgery may be required to get dental implants.

How Is Sinus Lift Surgery Performed?

Sinus augmentation involves placing bone tissue between the jawbone and the maxillary sinus. The grafting material may be taken from the patient, but oral and maxillofacial surgeons can also transplant natural human, bovine or porcine bone from a tissue bank. Or, as an alternative, they can use synthetic materials.

Subantral graft surgery is performed through a tiny incision near the molar or premolar region. The membrane lining the sinus is gently pushed away from the jaw and the bone-grafting material is placed in the space under the membrane.

What Is Sinus Lift Recovery Like?

Immediately following subantral graft surgery, patients can expect some swelling and discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ice packs can typically alleviate these symptoms. An antibiotic and antimicrobial mouthwash may also be prescribed to help prevent infection.

In 7 to 10 days, patients need to return to the oral and maxillofacial surgeon for a follow-up. At this time, any stitches that haven’t dissolved are removed and the sinus augmentation site is evaluated for proper healing.

Six to nine months after subantral graft surgery, dental implants can be placed. Though most patients would prefer to have their replacement teeth sooner, the wait is necessary to allow the bone graft to integrate with the jawbone.

OMS Can Help You with Your Bone Graft

Has your dentist or oral surgeon told you that you might need a sinus lift? For expert care in the greater Salt Lake City area, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, have the skill, knowledge and experience to successfully complete complex bone grafting procedures such as sinus augmentation. And after helping patients in northern Utah for over a decade, our oral surgery team knows the importance of compassionate care.

Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation to discuss sinus lift surgery.

Oral Surgery & Pregnancy: What to Know 

Do you need oral surgery? If you’re pregnant, caring for your smile isn’t as simple as picking up the phone to schedule an appointment with your oral surgeon.

Oral Surgery & Pregnancy: What You Need to Know 

Protecting the health of your unborn baby takes priority, and that means planning a surgical procedure requires careful thought. Elective procedures can wait until after the baby comes. But what about more urgent issues?

Which Surgical Procedures Can be Done During Pregnancy?

Generally speaking, most types of surgery should be avoided during pregnancy. However, not all procedures can be safely postponed.

Dental implants and other elective surgeries need to wait until after the birth. Tooth extraction, removal of problematic oral pregnancy tumors and emergency procedures, on the other hand, may be necessary to reduce the chance of infection.

When During Pregnancy Should Oral Surgery Be Performed?

The second trimester of pregnancy, or between four and six months along, is considered the safest time for surgery.

Oral surgeons advise against scheduling procedures during the first trimester, as surgery could affect the baby’s development and growth processes. Surgery can be safe during the third trimester, but at that point, pregnant women often have difficulty sitting comfortably in the dental chair.

Is Anesthesia Safe During Pregnancy?

Local anesthesia, like lidocaine, is usually safe for pregnant women. Other anesthetics, including oral sedation, laughing gas and general anesthesia, are not recommended during pregnancy.

When administering local anesthesia to a pregnant patient, oral surgeons take care to use as little medication as possible, but enough for a comfortable experience. Pain is kept under control.

Can Pregnant Women Get X-Rays?

Routine X-rays should wait until after the baby is born. But X-rays are often necessary to safely perform tooth extraction and emergency surgical procedures.

Fortunately, studies show that a single diagnostic X-ray doesn’t deliver enough radiation to cause harm to a developing fetus. And if X-rays are required during pregnancy, the technician will use a leaded apron to shield your body and will take as few images as possible to minimize radiation exposure.

Can your oral surgery be performed during your pregnancy or would it be wiser to wait? The best way to know for sure is to consult with an experienced oral surgeon, such as the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Our board-certified oral surgeons have provided necessary treatment for pregnant patients for over 10 years and are known for compassionate care. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule your appointment to discuss your oral surgery options.

With Dental Implants, Is Tooth Sensitivity a Cause for Concern?

Patients with dental implants occasionally develop sensitivity in the replacement tooth, which can be cause for confusion as well as concern.

In Dental Implants, Is Tooth Sensitivity a Cause for Concern?

In most cases, tooth sensitivity develops when tooth enamel wears down to the point that nerve endings are exposed. But a dental implant has no nerves, so how is it possible for an implanted tooth to feel sensitive?

When patients complain of sensitivity in their dental implants, one of two things is usually going on. Either the patient has a problem with one of the adjacent teeth or the implanted tooth is failing. In either case, to avoid potential complications, see your oral surgeon as soon as possible if you develop sensitivity in an implant.

Problems with an Adjacent Tooth

If the implant was recently placed, the sensitive feeling may be due to dentin and nerve ending exposure. Or if an implanted tooth was placed too closely to other teeth, damage or trauma could have occurred during surgery.

On the other hand, if the space between an implant and the adjacent tooth is too wide, food impaction within the gap could be the culprit. An infection in the gums can also cause an implanted tooth to feel sensitive.

Dental Implant Failure

Not every case of dental implant sensitivity can be blamed on problems with the adjacent teeth, however. Sometimes the sensitive feeling is due to failure of the implanted tooth.

A failing implant often causes symptoms other than tooth sensitivity. Common signs of failure include:

  • Looseness in the implanted tooth
  • Swelling and redness in the surrounding gums
  • Gum recession near the implant
  • Difficulty chewing and biting
  • Discomfort or pain at the implant site

What to Do if You Feel Tooth Sensitivity in a Dental Implant

As with any oral health problem, prompt treatment is critical if you feel tooth sensitivity in a dental implant. The faster you seek professional care, the sooner you’ll regain your comfort.

Contact your oral surgeon immediately if you notice that one of your dental implants feels sensitive. Schedule a consultation as soon as possible and you’ll stand a much better chance of successfully treating the problem before serious complications arise.

If you need immediate treatment from a highly skilled oral surgeon with expertise in dental implants, make an appointment with either Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

After helping patients in the greater Salt Lake City area for more than a decade, the professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is known for providing expert care with a compassionate touch. If you feel tooth sensitivity in a dental implant, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.

Avoid Dental Implant Damage by Banishing These Nighttime Habits

Dental implants are the ideal solution if you have missing or badly damaged teeth.

avoid dental implant damage

Having dental implant surgery restores your healthy, beautiful smile. And with proper care, your new replacement teeth can last a lifetime.

That said, dental implants are not indestructible, and certain habits can threaten their integrity. To make the most of your fresh start, make sure your nighttime behaviors aren’t putting your replacement teeth at risk.

Skipping Your Nightly Dental Hygiene

Have you ever thought, “I’m exhausted, and I brushed my teeth this morning, so I can skip brushing tonight”?

Everyone’s tempted to hit the sack without brushing now and then, but both natural and artificial replacement teeth need to be brushed twice daily. Without good oral hygiene habits, gum disease can develop. Without treatment, this can lead to dental implant failure.

So try not to skip your nightly brushing. It only takes 2 minutes to clean your teeth, and doing it will help protect your dental implants.

Grabbing a Midnight Snack

Maybe you brush every night, without fail, but before turning in, you head to the kitchen. If all you grab is a drink of water, you’re good to go. Nosh on any other type of midnight snack, however, and you might be putting your dental implants at risk.

If you have a treat after brushing, traces of food will sit on your teeth all night long, increasing your chance of developing gum disease. To keep your replacement teeth stable and your natural teeth healthy, ditch your midnight snack habit. Or if you must indulge, be sure to brush again before you go back to bed.

Grinding Your Teeth

Do you grind your teeth when you sleep? The repeated pressure that tooth-grinding, or bruxism, puts on the jawbone can affect dental implant stability and lead to failure.

Learning to stop grinding your teeth can be a challenge, but you’ll need to address this nighttime habit before getting dental implants. Your oral surgeon may recommend bone grafting to strengthen the jaw. And to better protect your replacement teeth, you may have to start wearing a custom-made mouthguard at night.

Are you thinking about replacing your missing or badly damaged teeth with dental implants? The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, can offer expert advice on how to take good care of your new replacement teeth so they last forever.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, are dental implant surgery specialists with over 10 years of experience in successful tooth replacement. Contact one of our three convenient offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — today to schedule a consultation to discuss dental implants.

Getting Dental Implants? What to Expect the Day After Surgery

If you’re getting dental implants, you are probably daydreaming about what it will be like to have a healthy, beautiful, gap-free smile again. No more embarrassment about your teeth, the ability to eat your favorite foods — the list of what you can look forward to goes on and on.

Getting Dental Implants? What to Expect the Day After Surgery

On the other hand, when you rewind to the present and try to imagine the day after dental implant surgery, you might not be as clear on the details. However, recovery shouldn’t cause you any concern. The healing period is smooth and easy for the vast majority of patients.

You Won’t Have Much Pain or Discomfort

Contrary to what many patients think, recovering from dental implant surgery doesn’t involve a lot of pain — just a bit of discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication and ice should keep you comfortable, and you won’t need to use either for long.

If you to experience any serious pain, contact our office as soon as possible so we can evaluate your implant site for any potential problems.

You May Have Visible Swelling and Bruising

Although you won’t feel too bad after you get dental implants, your facial appearance may indicate otherwise. Occasionally, patients experience some swelling in the gums and cheeks, along with the possibility of facial bruising. This is normal and does not indicate any problems.

If this is a concern for you, plan ahead. In other words, don’t schedule your surgery the day before an important event.

You May Not Remember the Procedure

Most dental implant patients opt for some form of anesthesia. Whether you use oral medication, nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or have IV sedation, you’ll be relaxed and drowsy during the procedure. Anesthesia also tends to have an amnesia-like effect, so you may not remember much about your implant surgery.

Take Time to Rest and Relax

The day after your dental implants are placed, you may want to get some rest. Taking it easy is recommended, so don’t plan on doing anything too strenuous. If you work a desk job, you might not have to take time off — unless, of course, you’d rather not go to the office with a swollen, bruised face.

Are you looking for an experienced northern Utah oral surgeon to handle your dental implant surgery? Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, are tooth restoration experts with over 10 years of experience successfully placing dental implants.

Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a dental implant surgery consultation.

Will You Need Bone Grafting?

Bone grafting can strengthen the jawbone by replacing lost tissue and stimulating new growth. The procedure is frequently recommended for patients with bone degeneration in the jaw, also known as jawbone atrophy.

Will You Need Bone Grafting?

But what’s the point of bone grafting? Does this mean that you need oral surgery just to improve your jawbone health?

Bone graft surgery is a routine outpatient procedure with minimal recovery time, so it’s a simple step to take to preserve your oral health.

To Prevent Fractures and Tooth Loss

You might not realize that your jaw has degenerated until your oral surgeon points out the atrophy in your X-rays. The condition may not be causing noticeable oral health problems yet, but it will — possibly sooner rather than later.

A weakened jaw doesn’t provide a solid foundation of support for your teeth. Over time, if jawbone atrophy is left untreated, the risk of tooth loss increases. In addition, degenerated bone is more likely to fracture. Bone graft surgery can protect your smile and help you sidestep these potential problems.

To Maintain a Youthful Facial Appearance

Jawbone atrophy doesn’t just affect your oral health — it also affects your facial appearance.

A strong, healthy jawbone gives your face volume. When the tissues start to degenerate, the jaw shrinks and the face takes on an aged and sunken appearance. Bone grafting can preserve your facial appearance and help you avoid looking older than your years.

To Prepare for Dental Implant Surgery

Do you have missing teeth? If you’re planning on getting dental implants, you might have to get bone graft surgery first.

Jawbone health is crucial for successful dental implant surgery, as the replacement teeth need a strong, supportive foundation. If your jaw has atrophied, your oral surgeon will likely recommend a graft. Without grafting, dental implants may not be an option.

Do you need bone grafting? For expert care in the greater Salt Lake City area, visit the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Our highly trained, board-certified oral surgeons have more than a decade of experience successfully treating northern Utah patients with jawbone atrophy and a wide range of other oral health conditions.

With the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah team, bone graft surgery is a simple, in-office procedure with a smooth and easy recovery. For more information or to see if you need to restore your jawbone health, contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today.

Before Your Oral Surgeon Consultation, Take These 3 Steps

When you schedule an oral surgeon consultation with the team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we provide complete instructions on how to prepare for your visit. However, as the date gets nearer, you might be focused on everything but the basics. Our oral surgeons are known for providing compassionate, expert care, but it’s natural for new patients to be a little nervous.

Oral Surgeon Consultation

Follow the simple steps below and you’ll be ready for your consultation.

No. 1: Complete Patient Forms at Home

Every new oral surgery patient must fill out registration paperwork. Set yourself up for a quicker, easier appointment by completing these forms ahead of time. Our patient forms are available in PDF format for your convenience.

If you have trouble completing the patient forms, however, you can fill them out when you arrive for your oral and maxillofacial surgeon consultation. Just plan to get to the office a little earlier than your appointment time.

No. 2: Write Down Your Questions

You probably have a lot of questions you’d like to ask your oral surgeon — and we look forward to answering them. But if you’re nervous, you might not remember to bring up all your concerns.

In the days before your consultation, jot down a list of your questions. Bring the list to your appointment and you’ll leave the oral surgeon’s office with all the answers you need.

No. 3: Freshen Your Mouth

You’ll feel more confident for your oral surgeon consultation if you take time to brush and floss before coming in. Freshen your mouth, and you won’t have to worry about bad breath or a piece of food stuck in your teeth.

Plus, a clean mouth allows the oral surgery team to clearly and easily see what’s going on with your gums, teeth, jawbone and oral tissues — and that is, after all, the reason for your visit.

Preparing for your consultation ahead of time makes your first appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah easier. But regardless of how ready you feel, rest assured in knowing that our professional team will do everything we can to help you have a positive experience.

Whether you’re new to the greater Salt Lake City area or a long-time northern Utah resident in need of an experienced local oral surgeon, you can count on compassionate care from the team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

If you want to be ready for your appointment and you have questions on how to prepare, we’re just a phone call away. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today for details on how to prepare for your oral surgeon consultation.

Demystifying Dental Implant Surgery

Has your oral surgeon recommended dental implant surgery?

Demystifying Dental Implant Surgery

If you have missing teeth, dental implants can provide you with a permanent fix — a healthy, beautiful smile that looks and feels completely natural. Still, you may be wondering what it takes to get to that point.

Don’t let your imagination run wild. Getting replacement teeth is a quick and simple process that involves little to no pain and a minimal investment of your time.

Professional Evaluation for Dental Implants

The first step to getting dental implants is a professional evaluation from an experienced oral surgeon who specializes in tooth restoration.

Most patients are able to undergo implant surgery. As long as you’re healthy enough for routine dental procedures, your oral surgeon should give you the go-ahead. However, a thorough medical history, oral examination and X-rays are necessary to ensure that you’re a good candidate for permanent tooth restoration.

Procedures to Prepare for Dental Implants

After your dental implant evaluation, your oral surgeon might tell you that you need preliminary procedures to prepare for implant surgery.

You might need treatment for gum disease, for example, or you may have damaged teeth that need to be extracted. Or, if the bone structure in your jaw isn’t strong enough to support the new replacement teeth, you may need a bone graft.

In any case, preliminary treatment is done in the office on an outpatient basis and involves minimal discomfort and recovery time.

Placing the Dental Implant Posts & Temporary Crowns

Once your mouth is deemed healthy enough for implant surgery, your oral surgeon will give you a temporary, gap-free smile.

Screw-like titanium posts will be placed in the empty tooth sockets to act as roots for your new replacement teeth. Molded impressions of your mouth will be taken to allow the dental lab to create permanent crowns that are a perfect match. In the meantime, temporary crowns will be put in place to fill the gaps in your grin

Attaching Permanent Crowns

After the titanium dental implant posts have fused with your jawbone — a process known as osseointegration — your permanent crowns will be attached.

Small metal connectors called abutments will be secured to the titanium posts. Then, your oral surgeon will attach the lab-created crowns, giving you the beautiful, natural-looking smile you were meant to have. Take proper care of your new replacement teeth, and they’ll last a lifetime.

Now that we’ve demystified the process, are you thinking about getting dental implant surgery? Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the experienced, board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, can answer all your questions about dental implants and offer expert advice on your tooth restoration options.

With three Salt Lake City-area offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — getting treatment from the Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah team is easy and convenient. If you live in northern Utah and are interested in replacing your missing teeth, contact us today to schedule a dental implant consultation.

Proactive Wisdom Tooth Removal: Pros and Cons 

Should you consider proactive wisdom tooth removal, or are you better off waiting until you have problems before having your third molars pulled?

Proactive Wisdom Tooth Removal: Pros and Cons 

In most cases, oral surgeons and dentists recommend the proactive removal of wisdom teeth. However, before making this decision, discuss the pros and cons with your oral surgeon.

What Are the Advantages of Proactive Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Chances are, you have heard friends and family members complain about their wisdom teeth. These complaints are so common because the third molars are known to cause issues, particularly painful ones.

For many patients, the teeth become impacted, unable to push through the gums. Other patients have poor positioning, which causes the third molars to push against the nearby teeth as they grow in. And because the back of the mouth is notoriously difficult to clean, keeping your wisdom teeth increases your risk of gum disease. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to future tooth loss.

Proactive removal of the wisdom teeth helps prevent future tooth and gum problems. And the better your oral health, the less often you need to see your local oral surgeon — which means preemptive pulling could save you both time and money.

What Are the Disadvantages of Proactive Wisdom Tooth Removal?

For some patients, the third molars erupt without a problem — they’re not impacted, and they don’t affect tooth alignment. Since everyone only gets one set of permanent adult teeth in their lifetime, removing healthy and strong molars isn’t always the best approach.

And every surgery, including basic tooth extraction, carries some degree of risk. Although complications rarely occur, some patients may develop an infection or suffer nerve damage. If the rewards of having the wisdom teeth pulled don’t outweigh the risks, your oral surgeon may not recommend the procedure.

Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Pulled?

Chances are, getting your wisdom teeth pulled now would be better than taking the wait-and-see approach to tooth extraction.

That said, every patient has unique dental anatomy and oral health considerations. To determine whether you should plan and schedule a wisdom tooth extraction, consult with your oral surgeon.

If you still have your third molars and you live in the greater Salt Lake City area, make an appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, are specialists in wisdom tooth management and can offer expert advice on the best approach to preserve your future oral health.

With northern Utah offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, making an appointment with the professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah couldn’t be easier. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss proactive wisdom tooth removal.