Posted on 1/11/2021 by Pacific Maxillofacial Center
Impacted teeth are teeth that are unable to erupt through the gums due to an obstruction or space limitation. They sometimes cause discomfort and other times cause no symptoms at all. Read on to learn more about how impacted teeth are diagnosed and treated.
Causes of Impacted Teeth
Teeth become impacted when there is not enough room in your mouth for the teeth to erupt. This can be due to genetics, other teeth blocking the area where the impacted teeth are growing in, or orthodontic work that has changed the alignment of your teeth and jaw. An impacted tooth can also be only partially impacted, which means that part of the tooth has already started to break through the gum line.
The teeth that most often become impacted are the wisdom teeth. For most people, wisdom teeth grow in the late teenage years to early adulthood, after the jaw has stopped growing. Wisdom teeth are not necessary and most people do not have the space in their mouth to accommodate them, which is why they are typically extracted. The maxillary canine teeth, also known as the cuspids or upper eye teeth, also commonly get impacted. However, these teeth are more important than the wisdom teeth, so we are less likely to recommend extracting them.
Impacted Teeth Symptoms
For some people, impacted teeth do not cause any symptoms, and you might not know you have them until your routine oral exam and X-rays. Other times, impacted teeth can cause issues such as redness, swelling, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, or discomfort when opening your mouth, chewing, and biting.
Impacted Teeth Treatment
Whether or not a patient is experiencing symptoms, we typically diagnose an impacted tooth by performing an oral exam and taking X-rays. Impacted teeth can be treated through extraction surgery, especially for wisdom teeth since they are not needed for chewing or other functions. When more important teeth become impacted, we may recommend treatments to encourage the teeth to erupt, such as braces or brackets in younger patients. If the tooth is unable to break through the gum, we may need to remove it and replace it with a bridge or dental implant. To learn more about impacted teeth, contact our office today.
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