If You Don't Remove Impacted Teeth

A tooth is considered to be impacted when it does fully erupt or erupts at the wrong angle. The tooth may not break through the gums whatsoever, partially erupt, come in at the wrong angle, may be blocked by a baby tooth, or perhaps there isn’t enough room in the mouth. An impacted tooth is commonly treated by simply removing the tooth. One of the most common teeth to be impacted is the wisdom teeth or third molars. When a patient hears they have an impacted tooth which needs to be removed, it can be overwhelming at first. Impacted teeth must be properly treated in order to prevent damage to the other teeth.

Tooth extraction is considered to be a surgery. Patients are sometimes tempted to neglect treatment for an impacted tooth or avoid removal out of fear from the discomfort it may cause. In some cases, an impacted wisdom tooth can remain in the mouth without removal, but patients should always follow up with a dentist to discuss their options. The dentist will often order x-rays which can aid in determining the specific position of the wisdom teeth. X-rays can also provide insight into whether the teeth are likely to cause problems in the future or negatively impact the other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth which are not treated can cause serious issues over time. The following article will review the possible consequences of not removing an impacted tooth.

Overcrowding and Damage

Not removing an impacted tooth can cause overcrowding issues and impact the alignment of the other teeth. The result may be teeth which begin to shift out of place and overlap. When the teeth are overcrowded from impacted teeth, it is possible that previous orthodontic work can be reversed. The teeth may require additional straightening following the removal of the impacted teeth. When patients have a smaller mouth or jaw, the overcrowding can be quite problematic. As the impacted teeth push against the adjacent teeth, it can result in issues such as infection or damage.

An impacted tooth does not always erupt vertically. It can erupt horizontally or at another angle, causing damage to the adjacent teeth which may need to be adjusted or repaired.

Wisdom teeth which are impacted are located in the far back of the mouth. This location makes them more difficult to clean and can allow for food and bacteria to become easily trapped. This can increase the risk for bad breath, cavities, and decay.

Gum Disease
Gum disease is another possibility when impacted teeth remain untreated. When caught early, gum disease can be treated. However, over time it can cause pain, gum redness or swelling, and even tooth loss in severe cases.

During the development of the wisdom teeth, a sac in the jawbone can fill with fluid. Over time, this can result in the formation of a cyst. It is possible for cysts to damage the teeth, nerves, and jawbone. While it is extremely rare, the cyst can develop into a noncancerous tumor that must be removed.

Untreated impacted teeth can result in some serious complications. Tooth extraction may be intimidating, however, the risk and eventual treatment which is required, might be far more invasive and expensive. The development of an infection from the accumulated bacteria can spread to other areas of the body and cause health issues.

Any patient who has an impacted tooth should follow up with their dentist right away to discuss their options. Even when removal isn’t required, the teeth should be monitored to ensure there are no issues in the future. The wisdom teeth should ideally be removed when the patient is in the late teens or early twenties. This ensures the tooth is removed before the roots are fully developed.

Removing the tooth before it is fully developed helps ensure a successful surgery and helps expedite the recovery time. Extracting wisdom teeth is a very common procedure which can be completed with minimal discomfort and down time. Patients should ensure they continue to practice good oral hygiene and closely follow post-operative care instructions from their provider.

How Serious is an Impacted Tooth