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Bruce M. MacNicol, DDS, MS, FRCD (C)
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What Needs to Be Done When a Tooth Becomes Impacted

Posted on 12/30/2016 by Tricia Ramsay
A woman in pain from a severe impacted tooth.
An impacted tooth is one which does not, or cannot erupt through the gum line. For most people, wisdom teeth are the ones that are most likely to become impacted. Even if the tooth only partially comes through, it is still considered to be impacted. So what needs to be done when this happens?

An impacted tooth can be the cause of many different things. One of the most common reasons is because there simply is not enough room for any more teeth. The tooth may twist around or tilt, changing its direction of growth.

If an impacted tooth grows into a surrounding tooth, it can change the alignment of your bite. Partially emerged teeth can also be the source of gum disease, as food gets trapped and plaque builds up.

Impacted Tooth Symptoms

Symptoms of impacted, or partially impacted, teeth include:

•  Bad breath.
•  Pain in the gums or jawbone while chewing.
•  Redness and swelling around the tooth.
•  Off taste while eating.

An impacted tooth can potentially lead to a number of different problems. For one, it can lead to a misaligned bite. Plaque buildup can cause gum disease. You may also suffer from an abscess or an infection.

Diagnosing an Impacted Tooth

If you suspect an impacted tooth, your dentist can make the diagnosis. An exam of the area is needed, and a dental X-ray can confirm.

If your impacted tooth isn't causing you any problems, then there is no need to do anything about it. Minor pain can be treated with over the counter pain medications and swelling with a salt water rinse, but these treatments are not a long-term solution.

The most common treatment for an impacted tooth is removal, particularly if the affected tooth is a wisdom tooth. For an impacted maxillary canine, which is another commonly affected tooth, and oral surgeon will work to help the tooth emerge and pull it into its proper place.

Impacted teeth, if they are causing trouble, should be addressed. Surgery to remove them, or help them grow into their proper position, is often successful and you can soon get back to life as normal. If you suspect an impacted tooth, contact our office right away.

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