An impacted tooth is a tooth which has become trapped beneath the surface of the gums. The most common form of this is an impacted wisdom
tooth, and many people will face this problem in their teenage years.
What Causes an Impacted Tooth ?
A tooth may become impacted whenever it cannot fully emerge from the gums. This can be due to the tooth growing at an angle, or a lack of space for it to come in among the other teeth.
Dangers of Impacted Teeth
While an impacted tooth may not initially cause any pain, once it begins to try to surface from within the gums, the gums, jaw, and face may become sore and swollen. The movement of the impacted tooth can also put pressure on other teeth, causing them to move and causing a misalignment of the jaw, which can later cause jaw and bite problems. Also, the irritation of the surrounding teeth and gums may lead to bacterial growth, causing tooth and gum decay. Impacted teeth can also develop infections, and if left untreated, the infection can spread into the neck or throat, causing serious health risks.
Commonly Impacted teeth
The most commonly impacted tooth is the mandibular 3rd molar. Here are the most commonly impacted teeth in chronological order starting from the most common
Mandibular 3rd Molar
Maxilary 3rd Molar
Maxillary Lateral Incisor
Maxillary Central Incisor
Types of Impaction
Symptoms of An Impacted Tooth
Symptoms of an impacted tooth include swollen and sore gums, pain or difficulty in moving jaw, a bad odor or sour taste in the mouth (from bacteria growing in the affected gum area), and pain while opening the mouth, biting, and chewing. These symptoms may not be continuous, but if you experience any of them, you should have a dentist examine your teeth for possible impactions.
Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment of an Impacted tooth
If you have an impacted tooth, your dentist should be able to identify it by a simple visual examination. In some cases, the dentist may use x-rays to get a better view of the placement of the teeth. While it is possible to prevent
infection of an impacted tooth by carefully cleaning and flossing the affected area, nothing can be done to prevent a tooth from becoming impacted or to change the way that the tooth grows. If you have an impacted tooth, it is highly recommended that you seek professional dental care rather than attempting to treat the tooth at home. Normally, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon who will simply extract the tooth. The teeth pulling process takes no more than a couple of hours, and after a brief healing process of just a few days, you will experience full relief.
If you are unable to see a dentist right away, you can use over-the-counter oral antiseptics and pain relievers to reduce the risk of infection and to dull the pain until a dentist is available. You can also rinse the mouth with warm salt water to help prevent infection.
An impacted tooth can cause serious health risks if left untreated. Fortunately, problems like impacted wisdom teeth are easily treated by an oral surgeon, and often your dentist can identify a potential impaction beforehand, and the teeth can be removed before serious problems occur.None found.