Treatment Options for an Impacted Tooth
If there is not enough room in the jaw to accommodate a tooth’s eruption, that tooth may become impacted, or lodged in the jawbone or gums.
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the most commonly impacted teeth, but any permanent tooth may become impacted. If it does, you may need to have an oral surgeon remove it.
Impacted teeth can cause a host of problems. If they continue to try to push through the gums, they can knock the other teeth out of alignment, potentially ruining the results of months or years of orthodontic treatment. Furthermore, they can cause discomfort in the gums.
In some cases, the tooth may come in part of the way. When impacted teeth erupt partially, it can be challenging to keep them sufficiently clean. They may become havens for oral bacteria and infection, putting the rest of your mouth at risk. This is especially true of the wisdom teeth, as the rear of the mouth is already difficult for patients to reach with a toothbrush.
If you are showing signs of an impacted tooth, your dentist can use x-rays to reach a definitive diagnosis and determine how problematic the tooth may become. If your dentist has concerns, the next step is likely a referral to an oral surgeon, who commonly performs such procedures and is experienced in the required techniques.
To remove an impacted tooth, the oral surgeon may also need to get rid of surrounding bone before the extraction can proceed.
An impacted tooth can be removed in patients of any age, but with the wisdom teeth in particular, extraction is recommended before age 25. After that point, the roots become long and entrenched, and it is more difficult to remove the wisdom teeth.
While you are waiting for the impacted tooth to be removed, you can manage any discomfort using over-the-counter painkillers, like ibuprofen.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of an impacted tooth so that you can seek treatment as quickly as possible. When an oral surgeon can remove the tooth early, the procedure will be simpler and you’ll reduce your risk of complications.
If you are experiencing symptoms of an impacted tooth, please contact Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center at 434-295-0911 to schedule a consultation.