What is a soft tissue impacted tooth?
Permanent teeth become impacted when they are unable to emerge properly in the smile. Many impacted teeth are surrounded by the jawbone. Alternatively, a soft tissue impacted tooth is covered only by the gum tissue and unable to emerge.
A patient’s third molars, or wisdom teeth, have the greatest likelihood of being impacted because they are so large and most people’s jaws don’t have enough space to accommodate them. The wisdom teeth may be impacted in either bone or soft tissue.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, though, the procedure to remove it is more involved than a standard tooth extraction, and it typically requires the expertise of an oral surgeon.
Regardless of whether the surrounding tissue is bone or soft tissue, an impacted tooth can have serious consequences. Impacted wisdom teeth are of particular concern because of their location at the rear of the jaw. It is tremendously difficult to keep that area clear of bacteria even in the best of circumstances.
When a patient has impacted wisdom teeth, bacteria have a collection point in that vicinity. From there, those bacteria can spread and do damage to surrounding teeth or lead to an abscess, giving the bacteria the opportunity to spread throughout the body via the bloodstream.
Impacted teeth can also push surrounding teeth out of alignment as they continue to attempt to erupt, and patients may also develop discomfort from impacted wisdom teeth.
To avoid the negative outcomes of impacted wisdom teeth, many patients decide to have those teeth removed before any problems or issues arise. It is recommended for patients to schedule that extraction before their mid-twenties. The roots are longer and more entrenched after that point, and removing the wisdom teeth is more complex in older patients and typically leads to a longer recovery period.
If you have a wisdom tooth impacted in either the hard or soft tissue of the mouth, contact Charlottesville Oral Surgery & Dental Implant Center at 434-295-0911 to discuss your treatment options.