When a permanent tooth is prevented from fully erupting through the gums, it becomes impacted. Many times this occurs when the jaw is not large enough to accommodate all of the teeth.
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the most commonly impacted teeth, but any permanent tooth can fail to erupt. Impacted teeth can be lodged in either the bone or the soft tissue.
Impacted teeth can cause issues that will prompt a visit with the dentist. Patients with impacted teeth may experience discomfort, and the other teeth can be knocked out of alignment as impacted teeth continue to attempt to push through the gums. Partially impacted teeth may also damage their neighbors.
Partially erupted teeth also can have an increased risk of infection because particles of food can get trapped in the area, providing a food source for oral bacteria that cause decay and inflammation.
Additional symptoms of impacted teeth include bad breath, redness or swelling around the impacted tooth and persistent headache or jaw pain. Patients may also notice a visible space in the mouth where the tooth should have erupted.
A dentist can confirm an impacted tooth diagnosis using a visual examination and x-rays. Concerns can be identified in young patients, presenting opportunities for treatment at an early stage. As the teeth’s roots get longer, it can be more difficult to remove them.
Although some patients may never develop problems from impacted teeth, anyone with symptoms of an impacted tooth should consult with a dentist to see if treatment is appropriate in that particular case. If the dentist feels that the tooth may create issues in the future, extraction still may be recommended.
Extracting an impacted tooth can be a more complex procedure than removing a fully erupted one, and it may require sedation in addition to a local anesthetic.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of an impacted tooth, seek treatment promptly by contacting Plano Smile Studio at 972-398-2550.