How Serious is an Impacted Tooth?

Patients with impacted teeth can experience serious discomfort combined with other symptoms. Impacted teeth which are not treated in a timely manner can cause serious side effects. While it is quite rare, it can even be fatal. If a patient suspects that they have an impacted tooth, they should reach out to their dentist as soon as possible. The dentist will perform an examination, identify the cause of the issue, and review possible treatments.

A tooth is impacted when it fails to erupt properly. The wisdom teeth are most commonly impacted, however, any tooth which does not move into the correct position can be affected. X-rays can help detect impacted teeth before any symptoms are present.

Symptoms commonly associated with impacted teeth may include the following:

1. A foul taste in the mouth or bad breath
2. Challenges with opening the mouth
3. Gum or jaw pain
4. Headaches or jaw aches
5. Redness and swelling of the gums around the impacted tooth
6. Swollen lymph nodes
7. Space where a tooth should be

Because impacted teeth are serious, patients should contact their dentist right away when they begin to experience any symptoms. Impacted teeth can become infected and the infection can spread easily to other areas of the mouth or body. Infection which becomes severe can result in serious issues such as heart disease, brain damage, or even death.

During the examination, the dentist will look for swollen tissue surrounding the area of the impacted tooth. It is also possible for the tooth to partially emerge. The impacted tooth may also press against the teeth which are adjacent to the space. Gums surrounding the tooth can begin to show signs of infection such as redness, drainage, or tenderness. Gums may swell over the impacted tooth, drain, and then tighten again. This can give the impression that the tooth erupted and then retracted. The dentist will use x-rays to determine if a tooth is impacted below the gums.

In most cases, the best treatment for an impacted tooth is to remove the tooth. Once the dentist completes the examination and obtains x-rays, they can review treatment options. In cases of an infected tooth, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection before the tooth is removed. Braces may be used in cases where the impacted tooth is located in the front of the mouth. Orthodontic treatments can aid in moving the tooth into the proper location in the mouth.

In some cases, an impacted tooth may not cause any symptoms right away. This can mean that no treatment is necessary and the tooth will simply be monitored to ensure it doesn’t cause problems in the future. X-rays will be used to evaluate the situation and determine if the tooth can safely remain in place.

It is possible for impacted teeth to not cause any issues or require treatment, but patients should work with a dentist to evaluate the situation. Treatment is most successful when an impacted tooth is detected early, before symptoms exist.

Some of the complications associated with impacted teeth are listed below:

* Abscess or infection
* Pain or discomfort
* Alignment issues
* Plaque collection on the teeth and gums
* Nerve damage
* Gum disease

Impacted teeth should ideally be removed before the patient is 20. This ensures the extraction takes place before the roots are fully developed. This makes it easier to remove the tooth and helps expedite the healing process. The tooth’s roots will mature and become longer or even start to curve. The bone will also become more rigid over time.

Patients who think they have an impacted tooth should follow up with their dentist for evaluation and to discuss a treatment plan.

Impacted Wisdom Tooth Removal