Impacted Teeth; How your Greatwood Dentist can Help

Impacted teeth are teeth that have emerged from the surface of the gum or partially emerge from the surface of the gum. They cannot fully erupt due to the following:

  • Lack of space (crowding)

  • Misalignment (tooth is rotated out of position)

  • Conflicting position (teeth are fighting for the same spot)

Wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) are the last of your teeth to come in, and most likely to be impacted. This is due to all of your other teeth coming in and establishing their positions in our mouths. Very little room is left to accommodate the wisdom teeth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth- two on top, two on bottom.

Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause symptoms. They are often painless and cause no obvious trouble. However, when an impacted wisdom tooth becomes infected it can damage other teeth or cause other dental problems. See your Greatwood dentist if you experience some of the following signs or symptoms:

  • Bad breath

  • Difficulty opening the mouth (occasionally)

  • Pain or tenderness of the gums or jaw bone

  • Prolonged headache or jaw ache

  • Redness and swelling of the gums around the impacted tooth

  • Swollen lymph nodes of the neck (occasionally)

  • Unpleasant taste when biting down on or near the area

  • Visible gap where a tooth did not emerge

Infected, impacted teeth need to be extracted quickly, because the longer you wait, the longer the tooth roots grow. The risk of complication due to extraction may increase because the tooth roots may interfere with sensitive facial nerves. Also, any impacted tooth will apply pressure on the arch of your smile that may cause unnecessary crowding of your teeth. An impacted tooth below the gum surface may erode the roots of adjacent teeth. An impacted tooth above the gum line may create a “food trap” that is difficult to brush or floss and is likely to lead to decay.

Your Greatwood dentist can help identify if you have impacted teeth and the procedures available.