Impacted teeth can present a major problem. They can have a negative impact on other teeth and traumatize tender gums. In some cases, teeth can partially break through the gum. This makes it more difficult to keep your teeth clean and healthy and increases your risk of cavities, decay and infection. Thankfully, X-rays often identify a tooth impaction issue before any serious problems develop.
The Trouble With Tooth Impaction
There are also warning signs. While some people won’t experience any symptoms at all, others may notice things like the following before being diagnosed with an impacted tooth:
- Bad breath.
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums.
- Difficulty or pain when opening your mouth.
- Discomfort when biting or chewing.
What Is an Impacted Tooth?
An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to break through the gum tissue. There are a few types of impaction.
- A horizontal impaction – the impacted tooth grows sideways beneath the gum.
- A vertical impaction – the impacted tooth is aimed in the right direction, but it is too close to a neighboring tooth.
- A distal impaction – brings a tooth in at an angle so that it collides with the one behind it.
- A mesial impaction – sends a tooth angling forward to impinge on the one in front of it.
Treating Impacted Teeth
What do you do with an impacted tooth? That depends. In the minds of many, impaction is most strongly associated with wisdom teeth. That makes sense because wisdom teeth, which are the molars located in the back of the mouth, are the teeth that are the last to develop and oftentimes are impacted. Occasionally, dentists will recommend watchful waiting if there are no problems. After all, some impacted teeth never cause a problem. However, since there’s no real need for these wisdom teeth, an impacted tooth removal via surgery is generally the recommendation for an impacted molar.
However, molars aren’t the only teeth that fall victim to tooth impaction. It can happen to any tooth. In fact, the maxillary canines, or upper eyeteeth, are the second most likely teeth to become impacted. Since these teeth are needed, dentists take a different approach. Instead of removing it, dentists often try to coax an impacted canine tooth into its proper position with eruption aids like brackets or braces. In some cases, surrounding teeth may be pulled to make room for the impacted eyetooth to descend. If nothing works, they’ll surgically remove the impacted tooth and replace it with an implant or bridge.
If the conversation turns to tooth impaction while you’re seated in the dentist’s chair, how worried should you be? Not worried at all. Fortunately, if you’re at the dentist’s office, you’re in the perfect place to get the answers you need to make the best decision about your oral health.
At Wekiva Dental, we delight in providing exceptional dental care to those who live and work in the Longwood, Altamonte and surrounding Orlando, Florida, areas. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, contact us today.