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Impacted Tooth

An impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to erupt or emerges only partially into the dental arch within the specific time. This happens often with the wisdom teeth (the third set of molars), which is the last teeth to emerge and usually come in between the ages of 17 and 21. Because impacted teeth do not erupt, they are retained throughout the individual’s lifetime unless extracted or exposed surgically.

There are several causes that an impacted tooth remains stuck in gum tissue or bone, such as no room for the teeth to emerge. For example, the jaw may be too small to fit the wisdom teeth. Teeth may also become twisted, tilted, or displaced as they try to emerge and results in impacted teeth.

Although impacted wisdom teeth are very common, often painless and do not cause problems, however impacted tooth might also cause a misalignment of the bite because it pushes on the next tooth, which pushes the next tooth. A partially emerged tooth can trap food, plaque, and other debris in the soft tissue around it, and may also lead to the decay on the wisdom tooth or the neighboring tooth.

Trapped in the gums, impacted wisdom teeth may lead to dental problems such as:

  • Pain
  • Infection or misalignment of other teeth.
  • Swollen, red, tenderness or bleeding gums around the impacted tooth.
  • Swelling around the jaw.
  • Bad breath or Halitosis.
  • An unpleasant taste in the mouth near the affected area.
  • Prolonged headache or jaw ache.
  • Occasional difficulty opening the mouth.
  • Occasional swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Some impacted wisdom teeth don’t require removal, but symptomatic cases usually need surgical extraction by a dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in an outpatient setting under local or general, depending on the severity of the condition. X-rays are needed because they show the exact positions of the wisdom teeth, and help surgeons decide the best strategy for removal. If the tooth is too large to extract in one piece, or if it’s coming in at an angle, the surgeon cuts the tooth into smaller pieces with a drill. It is our team goal to make the patient as comfortable as possible during the procedure!

Call Us for your consultation appointment if you feel pain in your back teeth!