The term ‘impacted tooth’ refers to a tooth that was supposed to erupt yet hasn’t. As a result, the tooth can get trapped in the gums. Most commonly, impaction occurs with wisdom teeth, but the truth is any tooth can become impacted. So what exactly happens if you have an impacted tooth? Turn to your dentist in Lake Oswego.
The good news is that an impacted tooth doesn’t necessarily always require treatment. If the tooth isn’t causing trouble and there is no concern for the neighboring teeth, your dentist in Lake Oswego may recommend leaving it alone. However, in cases where treatment is recommended, solutions can vary from orthodontics to extraction. Each situation is different, and the best impacted tooth treatment for you will depend on your specific needs.
- Orthodontics – Braces or brackets can be used to move other teeth out of the way to make room for the impacted tooth and can even help pull the tooth down into place. This treatment is most common in younger patients.
- Extraction – If orthodontics isn’t an option, your dentist may recommend an extraction. This treatment is typically completed under anesthesia at your dentist’s office or with an oral surgeon. It’s a short, routine procedure that should have you recovered in no time.
In most cases, an impacted tooth occurs because there isn’t enough room in the mouth for a new tooth to erupt. This is common when children lose baby teeth and the adult teeth are trying to pop through the gums. It’s also very likely to occur with wisdom teeth later in life. The jaw may be too small to accommodate additional teeth, or the teeth may already be overcrowded. Teeth that are growing sideways or at weird angles can also become impacted.
Even though an impacted tooth sounds like a painful condition, the truth is many times a fully impacted tooth won’t have any symptoms. Partially impacted teeth, however, can exhibit some of these common signs:
- Bad breath
- Pain in the gums or jaw
- Swelling of the gums
- Bad taste when biting down
Now, it’s important to know the signs of an impacted or partially impacted tooth so you can seek treatment. However, seeing your dentist in Lake Oswego twice a year for preventive exams and checkups can usually help spot a potential impaction early before there’s trouble.
If treatment for an impacted tooth is recommended, it’s for a good reason. Occasionally complications can occur with impacted teeth, such as:
- Misaligned bite
- Difficulty brushing and, therefore, an increased risk of decay and gum disease
- Nerve damage
- Bone loss
News of an impacted tooth can be concerning for anyone, but don’t worry, there are plenty of treatment options that relieve any symptoms that you have and give you a smile you’re proud of. If you are experiencing signs of an impacted tooth or partially impacted tooth, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.