Impacted Teeth FAQs
What is an impacted tooth?
An impacted tooth is one that has failed to break through the gum line and find a natural, functional place in your smile. You may have heard of impacted wisdom teeth, the final set of molars that erupt between the ages of 17-21. These third molars come in, often when the jaw has stopped growing, and the mouth may be too small to accommodate them.
Any tooth can become impacted, but the maxillary canines, also known as the upper eyeteeth or cuspid, are also commonly impacted.
What are the symptoms of impacted teeth?
In some cases, you experience no symptoms when having impacted teeth – they are only detected on a routine X-ray. However, impacted teeth can be quite uncomfortable and cause:
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Pain when opening your mouth, or when chewing and biting
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth
Symptoms may be intermittent and worsen over weeks or months as the tooth changes position.
In addition to pain, impacted teeth can lead to cavities, a misaligned bite, crowded teeth, gum disease, infections, and cysts.
Why do teeth become impacted?
Genetics and the size of your mouth and jaw usually are the main cause of impacted teeth. Orthodontic treatment can also alter your bite and cause some teeth to become impacted.
How are impacted teeth treated?
If you have an impacted tooth, the team at WisNova Institute of Dental Specialists provides a variety of options for treatment.
In cases that involve no pain, you may benefit from simple monitoring. This means no action is taken unless the tooth starts to cause pain or other problems. Monitoring can occur at regular dental check-ups.
Surgery is used to extract impacted teeth, usually in the case of impacted wisdom teeth. If you have pain or the impacted tooth is going to alter your bite, this is usually the best course of action.
Orthodontic interventions that include braces, brackets, or removal of baby teeth blocking the canines give the teeth the chance to break through the gums. Exposure and bonding is a procedure that involves exposing the unerupted tooth with a surgical procedure and attaching a bracket to it that then connects to your other teeth to slowly move it into place.
If you suspect you have an impacted tooth or teeth, call WisNova Institute of Dental Specialists or request online appointment to find out your treatment options.