An impacted tooth is a tooth that has been blocked from breaking through the gum or that has not erupted due to some reason. Sometimes a tooth may be only partially impacted, or sometimes it can be completely impacted.
Impacted teeth most of the time don’t have many symptoms. However, when an impacted wisdom tooth becomes infected, damages other teeth or causes other dental problems, you may experience some of these signs or symptoms that are mentioned below
- Red or swollen, warm gums
- Tender or bleeding gums while brushing or eating
- Jaw pain during eating or chewing
- Swelling around the jaw or around the affected teeth
- Bad breath or halitosis
- An unpleasant taste in mouth
- Difficulty in opening mouth
- Malocclusion in other teeth
- Most of the time wisdom teeth is the one that gets impacted because they don’t have enough room to erupt or develop normally. Wisdom teeth also called as third molar teeth usually emerge sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. In some people wisdom teeth emerge without any problems and line up with the other teeth behind the second molars, but in cases where the mouth is too crowded for third molars to develop normally, the impaction takes place.
- Impaction of other teeth other than third molars can also occur due to lack of space in the jaw for eruption
- It can be seen in people with large teeth material and narrow arches
- It can be genetic also
Some of the common complications of impacted teeth are stated below
Damage to surrounding teeth - If the wisdom tooth pushes against the second molar, it may damage the second molar or increase the risk of infection in that area causing it to decay. This pressure can also cause problems with crowding of the other teeth or require orthodontic treatment to straighten other teeth after eruption of all the permanent teeth.
Cysts - The wisdom tooth develops in a sac within the jawbone, this sac can fill up with fluid, forming a cyst that can damage the alveolar bone, teeth and nerves. Rarely, a tumor usually noncancerous i.e. benign may develop. This complication may require removal of tissue and bone depending on the case.
Decay - Partially impacted wisdom teeth appear to be at higher risk of tooth decay than other teeth as there is more chances of food accumulation and less access for brushing the teeth.
Gum diseases - The difficulty in cleaning impacted teeth, partially erupted wisdom teeth increases the risk of developing a painful, inflammatory gum disease called peri coronitis which can cause pain and restrict the mouth opening.
Dental X-rays like OPG, CBCT, and intra oral periapical radiographs can help in diagnosing the impacted teeth and even the type of impaction. Dentists typically conduct x-rays to see how severe the tooth impaction is. They will also ask you questions about the history of your symptoms and how they impact your daily life and the dentist may decide that further treatment necessary to relieve pain and discomfort.
Treatment For Tooth Impaction
Extraction is the treatment option for impaction if they are causing problems as mentioned above. Your dentist may recommend removal of the wisdom teeth if they are impacted and causing pain or other issues with your oral health or hygiene. If your wisdom teeth initially came in fine but start to decay, you may need them removed.
You can experience some complications after having surgery for impacted teeth which are stated below
- You may experience swelling and discomfort in the gum and tooth socket where the dentist performed the extraction
- Continuous mild bleeding for around 24 hours
- Potential damage to existing dental work like bridges or the roots of neighboring teeth in few difficult extractions
- An opening may appear in the sinus cavity due to an impacted tooth’s removal
- Slow healing of your gums depends on immune system as well as maintenance of oral hygiene.
- Difficulty while opening the mouth
- Dry socket may form in cases where bone guttering is involved. You should continue visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups to track the health of your teeth and also to check the healing.