The human body often suffers different issues in its various parts, one of which is the tooth. One of the most peculiar issues that are associated with human teeth is the impacted teeth.
An impacted tooth has been prevented from breaking through the gum due to a variety of factors. A tooth may only be partially impacted, which means it has begun to break through but hasn’t completed the process.
Wisdom teeth, which are typically the last teeth to grow, usually between the ages of 17 and 21, are the most commonly impacted. The majority of people have four wisdom teeth in the back of their mouth, two on top and two on the bottom.
When wisdom teeth, also known as “third molars,” appear, the jaw has most often stopped growing. As a result, the mouth and jaw may be insufficient to accommodate them. Because wisdom teeth are no longer necessary, they are usually extracted if they become a nuisance.
Wisdom teeth that have become impacted are more likely if you have a small jaw. The maxillary canines, also known as the cuspid or upper eye teeth, are the second most common teeth to become impacted. Because these teeth are more important in your mouth, your doctor is more likely to recommend treatments that encourage their development rather than remove them.
Symptoms of Impacted Teeth
Wisdom teeth that have become impacted do not always cause symptoms. Often, impacted teeth are discovered during a routine X-ray at the dentist’s office after no obvious symptoms have been observed.
However, if a wisdom tooth that is impacted becomes infected, it causes other dental issues such as damages to other teeth. You may notice some of the following symptoms:
- Gums that are swollen and red
- Gums that are tender or even bleeding
- Jaw ache
- Swelling of the jaw
- Bad breath problems
- Your mouth has a bad taste
- You’re having trouble opening your mouth
- Difficulty in chewing, biting, or opening your mouth
- Pain when opening your mouth or chewing and biting
Causes of Impacted Teeth
Generally, a tooth becomes impacted when there isn’t enough room in your mouth for it. This could be due to inherited traits or orthodontic treatment. Some people’s wisdom teeth emerge normally and align with the other teeth behind the second molars. However, in many cases, the mouth is too crowded for third molar development to occur normally. These crowded third molars become imprisoned (impacted).
An impacted wisdom tooth may partially emerge, exposing some of the crowns, or it may never break through the gum, which is called being completely impacted or fully impacted. The tooth, whether partially or completely impacted, could:
- Grow in at an angle to the second molar or the following next tooth
- Grow in at an angle in the direction of the back of the mouth
- The wisdom tooth could grow at a right angle to another tooth, as if it were lying down along the jawline
- They can grow down or straight up, but may be locked within the jawbone
Prevention of Impacted Teeth
Although you can’t prevent an impaction, keeping regular six-month dental appointments for checkups and cleanings allows your dentist to carefully track the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth. Regularly updated dental X-rays can detect impacted wisdom teeth even before symptoms appear.
How to Treat an Impacted Teeth
If you suspect you have an impacted tooth, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. They can examine your teeth and take an X-ray of your mouth to see if an impacted tooth is the source of your symptoms. If it is, they can talk about the advantages and disadvantages of treatment.