It is not uncommon for teeth to become impacted, especially wisdom teeth. Impaction occurs when there is not enough room in the mouth for a tooth to properly emerge. The tooth can wedge up against other teeth, causing them to move out of position, and can eventually become infected if it cannot emerge. If your tooth is impacted, your dentist will probably recommend that it be removed.
Why Is My Tooth Impacted?
Teeth generally become impacted because there is no room for them to emerge properly through the gums. This is a very common occurrence with wisdom teeth, because most people do not have room in the jaw for these large molars. It can also happen if your teeth are proportionally large compared to the size of your jaw, or if your jaw is proportionally small or irregularly shaped.
If your dentist notices on routine x-rays that a tooth is crowded or being blocked by other teeth, he might recommend that it be removed before it has a chance to become impacted. Another alternative is orthodontic treatment designed to create more room in the jaw. This could include a palate expander or traditional dental braces.
Symptoms of an Impacted Tooth
An impaction can appear on an x-ray without exhibiting other symptoms. However, your tooth might cause other issues and symptoms that indicate you should see your dentist to have it evaluated. This is particularly true if the tooth has become infected. Symptoms that your tooth has become impacted include:
- Persistent headache or discomfort in the jaw
- Other teeth moving out of position
- Swelling in the gum where the tooth is trying to emerge
- A partially emerged tooth that appears to be “stuck”
In some cases, infection might set in, leading to fever and a general feeling of malaise. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. If you believe your impacted tooth may be infected, see our dentist right away to keep the infection from spreading.
Call the office of Dr. Dan Bush today!