What Are Impacted Teeth?
An impacted tooth is that tooth which some unknown reason has been blocked from popping out through the gum. Often the teeth might also be partially impacted, which means that they had begun to sprout but could not.
Sometimes, the impacted teeth can show no obvious symptoms and won’t be discoverable until a routine X-ray at the dentist’s office.
Symptoms Of Impacted Teeth
You might not even experience any signs or symptoms in some of the other cases, but an impacted tooth might lead to show certain obvious symptoms:
Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
A bad taste in your mouth
Difficulty opening your mouth
Pain when opening your mouth, or when chewing and biting
Symptoms may come and go.
What Causes an Impacted Tooth?
A tooth or teeth usually becomes impacted when your mouth doesn’t have space to accommodate all of them. This might be a result of genetics or an orthodontic treatment gone wrong.
Which Teeth Are Most Often Impacted?
Wisdom teeth are examples of typically impacted in nature. These typically sprout between the ages of 17-21 and are usually the last ones to grow.
By the time the wisdom teeth or the third molars start showing up, the jaw already stops growing. The mouth and the jaw hence might prove to be too small to accommodate all the wisdom teeth that would be coming in. Considering there is no specific need for wisdom teeth anymore, it is easier and more convenient to get them extracted if they happen to cause problems in chewing and talking. If you happen to have a smaller jaw, chances are that you might also have impacted wisdom teeth.
The second most common teeth to be impacted are the maxillary canines, also called the cuspid or upper eyeteeth. These teeth play a more significant role in your mouth, which is exactly why your doctor might recommend treatments that encourage these teeth to erupt instead of getting them removed.
How are Impacted Teeth Treated?
If you suspect to have an impacted tooth, try visiting your dentist as soon as possible without further procrastination. The dentist is most likely to take an X-ray of your mouth to find out if the symptoms that you have been experiencing were caused by impacted teeth. If the result is affirmative, they will then discuss the treatment and the plan of action with you.
The options to treat an impacted tooth include:
Waiting and Monitoring
If your impacted tooth is not causing any problem or showcasing any symptoms, your dentist might recommend you to go for the ‘wait and see ‘approach. When simply put, with this approach, the dentist with constantly monitor the impacted tooth instead of surgically extracting it, and waiting to see if it all becomes a problematic tooth.
This will be easier if you already are in the habit of visiting your dentist at regular intervals.
Surgery will be recommended by your dentist if you are experiencing pain and unwanted side effects from an impacted tooth in your mouth, particularly when it is a wisdom tooth. The dentist might also recommend surgical extraction if the impacted tooth seems to cause harm to the other tooth in the mouth.
The tooth extraction surgery takes about only a day and the patient is allowed to go home the same day after the procedure is over. The procedure usually takes 45- 60 minutes, and the patient will have to undergo a process of local anesthesia prior to the procedure. The recovery too doesn’t take more than 7-10 days for the patient fully recover and get back to their normal lives.
In cases when the canine teeth are impacted, eruption aids or medicines might be used to get the tooth to sprout out properly. Eruption aids might include braces, brackets, or by completely extracting baby or adult teeth that may be blocking the canines. However, these methods are most effective when performed on younger people.
If the desired eruption can’t be achieved, then the impacted tooth will either be extracted or be replaced with a dental implant or bridge.
Complications Of Impacted Teeth
An impacted tooth never breaks through the gums, you will neither be able to clean them, nor care for them. But, if your teeth happen to be partially impacted, they get way harder to clean. This in turn makes them more susceptible to dental or oral hygiene problems, including:
- Crowding of nearby teeth
- Cysts, which can damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone
- Absorption of bone or adjacent teeth
- Gum disease
Pain Management for Impacted Teeth
Over-the-counter medicines might be able to provide some temporary relief from the pain caused by an impacted tooth. Medicines like Aspirin have been found to provide effective relief for mild to moderate toothache. Having said that, it is not recommended to be given to children below the age of 18. This is because it can increase their risk for Reye’s syndrome, a serious condition.
Ice might also be helpful in reducing the inflammation, or you can also try rinsing your mouth with warm salt water, which is a time-tested method to provide relief from toothache.
If your pain is severe and these home remedies are not being of such help, visit your dentist to get yourself some prescribed pain reliever. Even if the home remedies make you feel better, it is always advisable that you visit your dentist to find a better solution. Using pain reliever medicines for a long span is extremely dangerous and if the impacted tooth doesn’t feel like it is going to feel better anytime soon, it is wiser to get it surgically removed or use other medical interventions.
Impacted teeth aren’t always the problem, and hence don’t require any medical attention at all. However, they require to be extracted surgically to prevent irritation, and infection, or to save the other teeth from being damaged by the impacted teeth.
Regular dental check-ups from an early age can help your dentist find out about impacted teeth before it gets out of hand, and begin the medical intervention if necessary.