The most common problem with an impacted tooth is the resulting infection of the gum tissues around it (pericoronitis). Impacted teeth can also effect the appearance of your bite, and esthetics of the smile.
What is an Impacted Tooth?
An impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to fully pass through the gums. The most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth. An impacted tooth remains stuck in gum tissue or bone for various reasons. It may be that the area is just overcrowded and there’s no room for the teeth to emerge.
Teeth may also become twisted, tilted, or displaced as they try to emerge, resulting in impacted teeth. An impacted tooth pushes on the next tooth, which pushes the next tooth, eventually causing a misalignment of the bite.
How To Know If Teeth Are Impacted
A dentist can determine impacted teeth by looking for swollen tissue over the area where a tooth has not emerged, or has only partially emerged. The gums around the area may show signs of infection such as redness, drainage, and tenderness.
Dental X-Rays or 3D Cat Scans can be used to determine the exact severity and location of impacted tooth, and the effect they can have on the rest of the mouth.
Treatment of An Impacted Tooth
No treatment may be needed if the impacted tooth is not causing any problems. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help if the impacted tooth causes discomfort. Warm salt water (one-half teaspoon of salt in one cup of water) or over-the-counter mouthwashes may be soothing to the gums.
Dental Extractions is the procedure to remove the tooth entirely, which is the usual treatment for an impacted tooth. This is usually done in the dentist’s office, but difficult cases may require an oral surgeon.
Surgical Exposure of the impacted tooth is the procedure for uncovering the teeth to allow for orthodontics to realign the tooth into its proper position. This requires an incision in the gum, exposing and removing a portion of the bone that is blocking the tooth from coming in. If indicated, the tooth crown will be etched with acid and a bonded on bracket will be adapted. This bracket has a chain attached to it that will be utilized wit orthodontic with elastic traction to pull the tooth back into its correct location.