Impacted Tooth

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Basically speaking an impacted tooth is one that is not pushing through the gum and either remains completely hidden or only partially grows.  This problem is most common with the lower wisdom teeth, these are the last to form around the ages of 17 and 20. 
Causes of an Impacted Tooth

  • Overcrowding of teeth in the area that the tooth is trying to grow into
  • The tooth might be growing oddly, twisting or rotating so that emerging from the gum is more difficult

Most of the time an impacted tooth will not be removed, or considered too much of a problem unless it is causing issues such as frequent infections.  Some dentists believe that the impacted tooth can put pressure on those around it, so creating a domino effect that could eventually distort your occlusion, or bite.  Untreated impacted teeth can lead to dental abscesses, infections and discomfort.

Symptoms of Impacted Tooth

  • Bad breath
  • Headaches or jaw aches
  • Swollen and painful gums
  • A bad taste when biting on the area
  • A gap in the tooth alignment
  • Sometimes people note a problem in opening their jaw

Treatment for Impacted Tooth

Your dentist will X-ray the area to ensure that the problems are being caused by an impacted tooth.  So long as the tooth is not creating problems then it will be left by your dentist as not seen as a problem.   The only way to correct an impacted tooth is to remove it, so lessening the pressure placed on the other teeth.  This is usually done by your dentist under a local anaesthetic, but in the case of deep and twisted wisdom teeth it might be preferable to have a surgeon perform the extraction. 

The most important teeth in our mouth are the ones with the deepest roots, the maxillary cuspid teeth.  These are the last of our front teeth to grow through, and if these teeth become impacted then your dentist will do all they can to make them grow through.  The older you are, the less likely they are to do so naturally. 

In order to make teeth grow through your dentist or orthodontist might place a brace on your teeth to make room for the impacted tooth to fill.  It might also be necessary to remove teeth from the area so that more important teeth can grow through. 

Once treated an impacted tooth rarely causes any further problems.