Oral and Facial Surgery of Utah

It’s Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s Talk About Screening.

Have you ever had an oral cancer screening?

Oral Cancer Awareness Month

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 51,540 people in the United States will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in 2018. When caught in the initial stages, treatment can be highly effective — which is why we recommend regular screenings.

This April, in support of Oral Cancer Awareness Month, the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah encourage you to learn more about this potentially deadly disease, and if you aren’t already doing so, to start performing regular self-checks at home.

The Importance of Monthly Cancer Self-Screening

Once every month, perform a self-check. Grab a mirror, head to a well-lit room and look for the following warning signs:

  • White, red or speckled patches in the mouth
  • Abnormal lumps or thickened tissues in the mouth or neck
  • Bleeding sores that won’t heal
  • Asymmetry in the face, mouth or neck

Be aware, too, that some other symptoms may point to the need for a professional cancer screening. Difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue may be warning signs of a developing problem. The same goes for chronic hoarseness, ear pain, unexplained weight loss and a difference in the way the teeth fit together.

If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make an appointment with a local oral surgeon as soon as possible for a professional screening.

Do You Need Professional Oral Cancer Screening?

Your suspicious symptoms may or may not be caused by oral pathology or cancer, but only a medical professional can tell for sure.

A professional oral cancer screening involves a thorough examination of the mouth tissues as well as the nasopharynx and larynx. The lymph nodes and neck are also checked for swelling and lumps or masses.

If lesions or abnormal tissues are detected, your oral surgeon may employ one or more diagnostic procedures before establishing or ruling out a cancer diagnosis. Toluidine blue staining, fluorescence staining, exfoliative cytology and brush biopsy are among the screening tests that oral surgeons commonly employ for this purpose.

Does Routine Oral Cancer Screening Pose Any Risks?

Monthly self-checks and regular professional screenings can detect early warning signs of pathology, allowing patients to seek treatment before the disease has a chance to spread. However, screening comes with some risks, albeit negligible ones.

Oral cancer screening tests can occasionally result in false-negative and false-positive results and misdiagnosis can occur. And the research does not prove that finding and treating the disease will improve the patient’s health or lifespan in every case.

That said, for most patients, the benefits of pathology screening outweigh the risks. Until scientists develop a cure, being proactive about oral health offers the best chance of successfully fighting oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer. The best way to determine whether you should have professional screening is to talk to your oral surgeon.

For professional oral cancer screening in the Salt Lake City area, schedule an appointment with Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, are highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of oral health conditions. We can discuss the benefits of professional evaluation and show you how to complete your monthly self-examinations. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to schedule a consultation for professional oral cancer screening.

TMJ Surgery: 3 Ways to Treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Oral surgeons typically view TMJ surgery as a last resort in the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder.

TMJ Surgery: 3 Ways to Treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

For many patients, conservative treatment measures — such as adopting simple self-care practices and wearing a stabilization splint or bite guard — alleviate TMJ symptoms.

However, in other cases, surgical treatment is the only way to effectively overcome temporomandibular joint disorder. If you’ve exhausted all possible conservative options and are still suffering from pain, stiffness and jaw joint dysfunction, one of the three TMJ surgery procedures below may help you find relief.

No. 1: Arthrocentesis of the Temporomandibular Joint

The least-invasive type of TMJ surgery, arthrocentesis involves injecting a sterile solution into the affected joint. This process, known as irrigation, flushes excess scar tissue and inflammatory chemicals from the joint space. Afterward, the oral surgeon may inject lubricants, corticosteroids or other medications.

Arthrocentesis is performed at the oral surgeon’s office or an outpatient surgical center, usually under local or IV anesthesia. Recovery time is minimal, lasting only a day or two.

No. 2: Arthroscopic Temporomandibular Joint Surgery

Like TMJ arthrocentesis, arthroscopic joint surgery is also done under IV sedation on an outpatient basis, at either the oral surgeon’s office or a surgical treatment center. However, the procedure — also known as TMJ arthroscopy — is more complex. As a result, the recovery period can take a week or longer.

Arthroscopic TMJ surgery involves inserting an arthroscope, or a tiny surgical fiber-optic video camera, through a small incision near the ear. The oral surgeon can see the images on a video monitor, which allows for accurate identification of specific joint issues.

Loose or inflamed tissue can be removed as needed, and the cushioning discs inside the joint space can be realigned or sutured.

No. 3: Temporomandibular Joint Arthroplasty

As the most-invasive type of TMJ surgery, joint arthroplasty is typically performed by an oral surgeon at a local hospital. In most cases, general anesthesia is used and some patients require an overnight stay. Depending upon the complexity of the procedure, complete recovery can take anywhere from two to six weeks.

TMJ arthroplasty is an open surgical procedure that involves exposing the joint space by making an incision along the ear. Through this incision, the oral surgeon can repair the cushioning discs and remove any bone spurs or adhesions that are causing jaw pain, stiffness and dysfunction.

Could TMJ surgery be the solution for your temporomandibular joint disorder? The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, can evaluate your symptoms, explain your treatment options and put you on the path to relief.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, the board-certified oral surgeons here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, are specialists in managing jaw-related facial conditions and have successfully treated northern Utah patients with temporomandibular joint disorder for more than a decade.

Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Toole office today to schedule a TMJ surgery consultation.

Oral Surgeons Support National Facial Protection Month 

This April, oral surgeons across the United States are joining forces with leading professional organizations — including the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Dental Association, the Academy for Sports Dentistry, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Orthodontists — to get an important message out.

Oral Surgeons Support The National Facial Protection Month

The goal of this joint effort is to spread the word about National Facial Protection Month. Sports-related facial injuries occur all too often — even more during the springtime — and many could be prevented with proper facial protection.

How much do you know about treating and preventing facial injuries related to playing sports? Learning more can help you be proactive about your health and that of your children.

First Aid for Sports-Related Facial Injuries

If you suffer a facial injury while playing sports and have to visit the emergency room, request a consultation with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon. With their training and expertise, oral surgeons are the most qualified professionals to manage serious facial injuries.

In the meantime, however, follow these first aid steps:

  • For facial bleeding: Apply pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
  • For fractured teeth: Gently clean the injured area and apply ice. Bring the broken tooth piece to an oral surgeon for possible reattachment.
  • For knocked-out teeth: Rinse and replace the tooth in the socket or store in cold milk, salt water or in the cheek until it can be reimplanted.
  • For nasal fractures: Gently pack the nostrils with gauze and apply ice to the nose.

How Oral Surgeons Treat Facial Injuries

Fractured and knocked-out teeth can often be saved with prompt treatment. However, when teeth cannot be reattached or reimplanted, an oral surgeon can replace them with dental implants or a bridge.

Treatment for a fracture in the nose, cheeks or jaw is not unlike that for a broken arm or leg. The parts of broken bone must be aligned and secured in the proper position. This may require multiple incisions along with wiring or plating.

Fortunately, oral surgeons understand how to correct sports-related facial fractures with the least possible amount of scarring.

Preventing Sports-Related Facial Injuries

Athletes of all ages can often prevent injuries with the right facial protection. For the best chance at injury prevention, oral and maxillofacial surgeons recommend taking the following steps:

  • Wear a mouthguard when you play contact sports.
  • Wear the appropriate helmet or mask for your chosen sport.
  • Wear protective eyewear when playing sports.
  • Check the condition of your facial protection equipment before use and replace as needed.

For expert treatment for a sports-related facial injury, call on the professional oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield have extensive experience in the treatment of tooth damage, facial fractures and complex, emergency sports-related facial injuries. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City-area locations in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele to schedule a consultation with our highly skilled oral surgeons.

Wisdom Tooth Problems: Diagnosing & Treating Pericoronitis

Wisdom tooth problems are unfortunately common among teens and young adults. Often, the mouth simply doesn’t have enough space for these trouble-prone teeth to erupt properly, causing them to become impacted or stuck in the gums.

wisdom tooth problems

Among the many potential issues, impacted wisdom teeth place you at risk for a condition known as pericoronitis, which is painful inflammation of the nearby gum tissues.

What Causes Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis is almost always associated with wisdom tooth problems related to impaction. The condition can develop with third molars that erupt only partially or teeth that fail to push through the gums at all.

Most cases of pericoronitis are caused by a gum flap infection. When a wisdom tooth doesn’t fully erupt, it creates a flap of inflamed or swollen gum tissue. Food particles and debris can easily get trapped underneath, which promotes the growth of infection-causing bacteria.

Pericoronitis may also be the result of minor trauma to the gums surrounding impacted wisdom teeth. The irritated gum tissue is susceptible to micro-injuries during chewing, both from the food itself and the opposing teeth.

How Do Oral Surgeons Diagnose Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis can be diagnosed during a clinical examination. Oral surgeons look for the following signs:

  • Painful, swollen gum tissue near an impacted tooth
  • Discharge of pus or fluid from the gums
  • Bad breath

More advanced cases of pericoronitis may also be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in the neck, jaw muscle spasms, fever, difficulty opening the mouth and swelling on the affected side of the face.

How Do Oral Surgeons Treat Pericoronitis?

A course of antibiotics, along with frequent rinsing with warm salt water, is usually enough to get rid of pericoronitis. Oral surgeons also advise diligent oral hygiene and eating a soft-food diet to prevent further irritation of the gum tissues. However, as long as the wisdom tooth remains impacted, the condition is likely to return.

For that reason, oral surgeons usually recommend extraction of the impacted tooth, once the pericoronitis is under control. After problematic wisdom teeth are extracted, pericoronitis issues disappear.

With preventive extraction, most wisdom tooth problems can be avoided. If you still have your third molars, visit Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah for a professional examination and treatment from our experienced oral surgeons. Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield are specialists in wisdom tooth management and our experienced team can help ensure your future oral health.

Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to discuss your wisdom tooth problems.

Pre-Prosthetic Oral Surgery for Dental Implants & Dentures

Pre-prosthetic oral surgery could be a part of your treatment plan if you are planning on getting dental implants or dentures.

oral surgery for dental implants and dentures

Although it may sound a little scary, pre-prosthetic surgery is simply a term used to describe a minor, in-office surgical procedure that helps prepare your mouth and jaws for a fixed or removable dental prosthesis. The goal of this procedure is to ensure the most stable, functional and comfortable fit by making improvements to the jawbone, teeth and oral tissues.

When Is Pre-Prosthetic Oral Surgery Necessary?

Pre-prosthetic surgery isn’t a requirement for every patient. Some patients can get dental implants or dentures without any surgical preparation.

That said, pre-prosthetic procedures are often necessary, as they help ensure the best possible results from a dental prosthesis. For this reason, patients interested in replacing their missing teeth should schedule a professional evaluation with a skilled and qualified local oral surgeon.

What Does Pre-Prosthetic Oral Surgery Involve?

Each patient has unique dental and jawbone anatomy that determines their specific surgical needs. Therefore, the approach to any oral surgery is always customized to the patient.

However, oral surgery to prepare for a dental prosthesis may include one or more of the following procedures:

  • Extraction of teeth or tooth remnants
  • Exposure of impacted teeth
  • Removal of damaged or diseased gum tissue
  • Reduction of the jawbone ridge
  • Removal of excess bone in the jaw
  • Smoothing and reshaping the jawbone

Pre-prosthetic surgery is performed in the oral surgeon’s office under oral sedation, nitrous oxide or intravenous (IV) sedation. Most patients are able to choose their preferred method of anesthesia.

What Is the Recovery Period for Pre-Prosthetic Oral Surgery?

Because each patient’s pre-prosthetic surgical plan is different, recovery times and circumstances vary. However, these procedures are considered minor and the recovery period typically compares to that of a routine tooth extraction.

Patients can expect a few days of mild discomfort, which can often be managed with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NDAIDs) and ice. Patients should avoid strenuous activities for at least the first 24 hours following pre-prosthetic surgery and stick to a soft-food diet until the oral tissues have adequately healed.

If you need pre-prosthetic surgery before getting dental implants or dentures, you’ll be in good hands at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield are board-certified facial and jaw reconstruction specialists, with more than 10 years of experience helping patients in the greater Salt Lake City area.

To discuss pre-prosthetic oral surgery, contact one of our three convenient northern Utah offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele today.

For a Child’s Tooth Extraction, it Pays to Prepare

You can make your child’s tooth extraction as easy and stress-free as possible with a little preparation.

Child's tooth extraction

Oral surgeons only recommend tooth extraction for children as a last resort, to correct problems with chewing, speech and dental development. Sometimes, however, pulling a tooth before the permanent replacement is ready to erupt is necessary. If your child has overcrowding that could affect jaw development, a badly fractured tooth that cannot be repaired or extreme decay that cannot be resolved with a filling or root canal, your oral surgeon may advise an extraction.

Most children are understandably nervous about the procedure — having a tooth pulled can be stressful even for adults. But with a bit of preparation, parents can help make their child’s tooth extraction a much smoother experience.

Familiarize Your Child with the Tooth Extraction Process

Many children react with fear when faced with new and overwhelming situations, and for most kids, having a tooth pulled is a foreign experience.

Getting them familiar with the extraction procedure can help alleviate their fears. Explain what to expect before, during and after the oral surgery and talk with them about their concerns. Reading books about tooth extractions and role-playing may also work to make your child more at ease.

Prepare for Tooth Extraction Recovery with Your Child

Worries about the tooth extraction recovery period are common among children, and preparing ahead with your child can help.

Work together to create a comfortable recovery spot with a cozy blanket, plenty of pillows and entertainment — queue up a few movies or stop at the library for some new reading material. Be sure to stock up on soft foods, like ice cream and freezer pops. The cold feels good on sore gums, and what kid doesn’t like eating icy treats?

Don’t forget to get your child’s input on their aftercare along the way. It will provide a source of distraction and give your little one something to look forward to.

Choose the Right Oral Surgeon

Finding a local oral surgeon who has experience working with children will make a big difference in your child’s extraction experience.

To the untrained eye, tooth extractions for children might appear to resemble those performed on adults. However, kids have different jaw and facial structures, and they aren’t fully developed. Complications can result from doing work without experience with children’s teeth.

More important, an oral surgeon who has worked with kids has the experience, equipment and techniques to make the procedure much less traumatic for your little one.

If you need a compassionate, child-friendly oral surgeon in northern Utah, make an appointment with Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah.

With over 10 years of experience working with both adults and children throughout the greater Salt Lake City area, our professional team knows how to reduce dental anxiety for patients of all ages. And we take the utmost care to keep our patients comfortable before, during and after their oral surgery procedures. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office today to discuss your child’s tooth extraction.

9 Sleep Apnea Warning Signs You Should Pay Attention To

Undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) poses a significant problem for millions of Americans.

sleep apnea warning signs you should pay attention to

Many patients who suffer from this condition don’t realize it, as the repeated breathing interruptions that characterize this disorder only occur during sleep. Yet if left untreated, sleep apnea can be life-threatening.

Do any of the following signs sound familiar to you? If so, pay a quick visit to a local oral surgeon for a professional sleep apnea evaluation.

No. 1: You’re a Loud, Chronic Snorer

Does your partner complain about your loud snoring? People with OSA often snore — that’s one of the most common signs of the condition.

No. 2: You Gasp or Choke During Sleep

You might not be aware of the repeated pauses in breathing caused by OSA, but the gasping, choking or snorting sounds that follow are hard to miss. These noises are the result of frantically trying to draw in a breath after a lack of oxygen.

No. 3: You Wake Often to Use the Restroom

While frequent nighttime urination can often be attributed to aging, it can also be a sign of OSA. The condition can trigger a feeling of fullness in the bladder, signaling the brain that it’s time to answer nature’s call.

No. 4: You Wake Up with a Headache

The frequent breathing pauses of OSA decrease the level of oxygen in the brain. In many patients, this results in morning headaches. As the condition becomes more severe, the headaches can last longer and occur more frequently.

No. 5: You’re Tired All Day

Excessive daytime sleepiness is often considered the hallmark symptom of OSA. Anyone who spends at least seven hours in bed every night but still feels tired during the day could have sleep apnea.

No. 6: You’re Moody or Irritable

Mood changes can’t always be linked to OSA, but the lack of restful sleep often leads to depression, irritability and anxiety. Some patients also complain of memory problems or have trouble concentrating.

No. 7: You Have High Blood Pressure

Untreated sleep apnea can create surges of adrenaline that cause blood pressure spikes at night. Eventually, the effect can spread into the daytime hours. Not everyone with high blood pressure has OSA, but this symptom is worth consideration.

No. 8: You’re Overweight

Could you stand to lose more than a few pounds? Many patients who are diagnosed with OSA are overweight. In fact, being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing this chronic sleep disorder.

No. 9: You Suffer from Insomnia

Research shows that insomnia and sleep apnea often go hand in hand. Frequently waking with elevated adrenaline levels can make it more difficult to go back to sleep, and many patients suffer from both sleep disorders.

Do you suspect you may have OSA? The professional team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, serving the greater Salt Lake City area, can evaluate your symptoms, explain your options and help you get the treatment you need.

With three convenient northern Utah offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — making an appointment with the experienced oral surgeons at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah couldn’t be easier. Contact us today to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.

Dental Implants & Tooth Whitening

Would dental implants, tooth whitening or both be better at rejuvenating your smile?

Dental Implants & Tooth Whitening

Here at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah, we get lots of questions from our patients about these treatments. Although oral surgeons don’t typically offer tooth whitening procedures — that’s a treatment you should talk to your dentist about — we are dental implant and tooth restoration specialists.

Should You Get Tooth Whitening Before or After Dental Implants?

Typically, our oral surgeons recommend that patients get tooth whitening before having dental implant surgery.

The reason for this is that we will have your implants custom fabricated to match your natural teeth. Whiten your teeth first, and your new replacement teeth will be the shade you want. If you hold off and do the whitening later, you may not be pleased with the results.

Implants cannot be bleached, which means they may be a noticeably different shade than your natural teeth after whitening.

What if Your Natural Teeth Need Whitening Later On?

Year after year, with proper care, your implants will look the same, because today’s tooth restorations are highly resistant to wear and discoloration. However, the same cannot always be said for your natural teeth, which can become stained and discolored over time due to your diet, health, age and even your genes.

So, what if you want to have them whitened later?

Although it won’t affect the color of your implants, you can (in most cases) whiten your natural teeth without harming your replacement teeth. It’s a good idea to talk to your oral surgeon before proceeding, however, just to make sure you won’t have any issues.

Can Dental Implants Develop Stains Like Natural Teeth?

Just because modern tooth restorations don’t discolor easily doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Implants can, in rare cases, develop stains if you don’t care for them correctly.

Frequent use of abrasive treatments and rinsing with an acidic fluoride mouthwash can break down the protective materials in your implants. If this happens, your new replacement teeth may become vulnerable to staining.

To ensure that your restorations stay looking like new, our office provides full instructions on how to care for your new teeth and we address any questions or concerns you may have.

Our board-certified oral surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield, have over 10 years of experience with dental implant surgery as well as a wide range of routine and complex oral surgical procedures to give you the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of. Contact one of our three convenient Northern Utah offices — in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele — today, to schedule a consultation to discuss dental implants.

5 Ways Corrective Jaw Surgery Can Improve Your Life

Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, is often considered a cosmetic procedure, as oral surgeons use it to improve facial imbalances like underbites, overbites, open bites and small chins.

corrective jaw surgery can improve your life

However, although these procedures can be used to improve the facial appearance, oral surgeons also use jaw surgery to address serious health concerns and to correct functional problems.

Do you have problems with your jaw? If so, corrective jaw surgery performed by an experienced oral surgeon could provide you with a host of benefits and potentially improve your life.

No. 1: Jaw Joint Pain Relief

When the jaws are misaligned, it places added stress and strain on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). This creates chronic pain, and for many patients, leads to the development of TMJ disorder.

Once jaw surgery is completed, the joint pain typically becomes a distant memory. Pain relief is often the most compelling reason people undergo jaw surgery.

No. 2: Better Bite Function

Misaligned jaws can make biting, chewing and swallowing food more difficult. For many patients, certain foods are off-limits because of the issue.

Orthognathic surgery realigns the jaws to give the teeth optimal bite function. Eating becomes much easier, and patients are often able to resume enjoying the foods they couldn’t previously consume.

No. 3: Improved Speech

The way the mouth and teeth are aligned can affect your ability to speak properly. Speaking and pronouncing words correctly can become an embarrassing challenge with misaligned jaws. This can profoundly affect self-confidence, especially for adolescents and those who must frequently speak at work, school or other events.

Orthognathic surgery can have a positive impact on speech. Patients enjoy talking clearly and easily, free from their former impediments.

No. 4: Reduced Tooth Wear

Misalignment in the jaws causes patients to exert more pressure on certain teeth. The result is increased wear and tear, which can lead to damage, decay and eventual tooth loss.

After orthognathic surgery, the jaws and teeth will be properly aligned. The pressure of the bite will be spread evenly throughout the mouth, so the amount of tooth wear will be reduced.

No. 5: Sound Sleep

Misaligned jaws can be a contributing factor to sleep apnea. The problem can affect the anatomy of the upper airway, leading to obstruction and nighttime cessation of breathing. The complications related to sleep apnea can impact patient health in many profound ways.

Though not all sleep apnea patients require the same surgical approach, orthognathic surgery can be life-changing. The procedure can open the airway to allow for a much better night’s rest and improved overall health.

Could you benefit from corrective jaw surgery? An experienced local oral surgeon — such as the team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah — can evaluate your jaws and oral health to determine if an orthognathic procedure is in your best interest.

Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield have over 10 years of experience in successfully performing both routine and complex orthognathic surgeries for patients in the greater Salt Lake City area. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office to schedule a consultation to learn more about corrective jaw surgery today.

Types of Wisdom Tooth Impaction and Their Treatments

Did you know that not all wisdom tooth impactions are alike? In fact, the third molars can become stuck in the mouth in a surprising number of ways.

tooth pain

Wisdom teeth that fail to erupt correctly are categorized as either soft-tissue or bony impactions, based on their position in the mouth. Soft-tissue impactions have penetrated the bone tissues but are unable to push through the gums. Bony impactions are mostly or completely encased within the jawbone.

In addition to their position within the mouth, wisdom tooth impactions are classified according to their angle. There are four types of impaction orientation.

Mesial Impaction

With mesial or mesioangular impactions — the most common type — the teeth are tilted forward tomesial-impactionward the front of the mouth. Though the angle of impaction dictates whether extraction is necessary, this orientation places significant pressure on the nearby second molars.


To avoid future oral health problems, our oral surgeons typically recommend removing third molars with mesial impactions.

Vertical Impaction

Vertically impacted wisdom teeth are normally angled (or almost normally) but are unable to push through the jawbone and gums. vertical-impaction

Our oral surgeons may recommend extraction if the teeth are bearing down on the neighboring molars or placing stress on the jawbone. We may also recommend removal to reduce the risk of gum disease, as keeping the third molars clean and bacteria-free can prove difficult for many patients.

Horizontal Impaction


Horizontal or traverse impactions are often considered the most painful and problematic. With this type of impaction, the wisdom teeth are parallel to the jawbone, lying on their sides deep within the gums or impacted in the bone tissue.Because horizontal impactions often damage the surrounding teeth, oral surgeons nearly always recommend their removal.

Distal Impaction


Distal or distoangular tooth impactions are the least common. Like mesial impactions, distally impacted teeth are tilted, but in these cases, they angle toward the back of the mouth. The angle of impaction determines whether extraction is necessary; however, our oral surgeons typically take a proactive approach and recommend removing these teeth to prevent future oral health problems.

Dealing with third molar impactions requires both skill and experience. In the greater Salt Lake City area, the oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah are the go-to experts for both routine and complex extractions.

Helping northern Utah patients for over a decade, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Maxfield are specialists in the field of wisdom tooth management. Contact our Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan or Tooele office and schedule a professional consultation to discuss your wisdom tooth impactions today.