When a tooth becomes impacted, it means that something, for some reason, has caused the tooth to stop erupting fully through the gum. It is likely that something is blocking the tooth from breaking through. This is a natural occurrence. When adult teeth replace kids’ teeth during development, permanent teeth can erupt abnormally. This can cause further complications later on and should not be ignored.
When a tooth becomes impacted, the dentist will consider surgically removing (also known as tooth extraction) the tooth to reduce the chance of teeth becoming overcrowded. Also, it will allow your neighbouring teeth to grow properly without any pressure. Learn about other dental concerns that require tooth extraction.
Causes of Impacted Tooth
An impacted tooth is a symptom of overcrowding. When teeth become overcrowded, you can do more damage to your teeth than you think. For example, the upper and lower roof of your teeth may not bite down together correctly. This can cause wear-and-tear on the bottom surface of your teeth. Biting down on foods may also become awkward. Either way, you’re doing damage to your teeth.
The possible causes of impacted teeth include:
Irregular or Angled Growth
Sometimes, teeth can grow at an abnormal angle adjacent to the upper and lower teeth and jaws. This is what is known as a third molar. Even though the tooth may have grown at an angle that may not impact the position of your neighbouring teeth, it can still prevent full eruption.
A Lack Of Space Due To Narrow Jaw
Naturally, teeth may not grow through the gum if there is no space to do so. When a tooth tries to break through the gum, it may become swollen, infected and very painful. You may begin to experience pain in your jaw and ear. Surgical removal would be required in this instance.
When a tooth becomes injured, this can cause teeth to chip, crack or fall out completely. In this instance, the tooth may also delay eruption if the accident has occurred during development of the tooth, e.g. in early teenage years.
Symptoms of an Impacted Tooth
Impacted teeth don’t usually cause obvious symptoms, however, the longer the tooth stays stuck in the gum, the more likely you will experience the following symptoms:
- Bad breath, or halitosis, even after brushing your teeth leaving a bad taste in the mouth.
- Difficulty in opening and closing the mouth without experience any stiffness or general pain
- Regular chronic headaches or jaw pain
- Signs of red or swollen gums in and around the impacted tooth
- Wider gaps between the impacted neighbouring teeth
When an impacted tooth remains in the gum, you’re risking serious infections. Another complication is what’s known as malocclusion, which refers to misalignment of teeth. Your neighbouring teeth may shift out of its position, reducing confidence in your smile. Read here to learn more about the problems caused by malocclusion.
If you’re experiencing dental overcrowding, it is likely the tooth needs to be removed. Contact our dentists in Garran today and let our exceptional dentists support you on your way to restoring your oral health. Contact us today!