An impacted tooth is a common dental condition occurring when a tooth fails to fully "emerge" from the gums. Most teeth break through the gums in a timely and appropriate fashion, but sometimes misalignment or injury prevents proper growth out of the gums or bones. If these teeth partially emerge they may trap food or bacteria in the soft tissue around them, which causes the gums and surrounding tissue to rot, giving rise to a foul odor called pericoronitis.
The most common teeth to become impacted are the third molars or "wisdom teeth." Because they erupt so late in life and because most people's jaws are not large enough to accommodate them, wisdom teeth can twist, tilt, and disrupt the natural placement of teeth within the mouth. Without correction through removal or realignment, the damage to the mouth can be both painful and permanent.
Treating an impacted tooth promptly is extremely important, for the longer you delay the more dangers you risk. Common complications of untreated impacted teeth include:
- Recurrent infection of the tooth
- Abscess in the tooth or gums
- Malocclusion, or improper positioning of the teeth
- Chronic pain or discomfort in the mouth
- "Plaque traps" which are pits where plaques and bacteria can accumulate
Each of these conditions can quickly escalate into more severe dental problems. If you suffer from an impacted tooth, don't wait until the serious consequences of your neglected teeth cause unnecessary pain. The sooner you act, the less discomfort and inconvenience you will face in the long run. Contact a qualified dentist in your area today.
Wisdom Teeth (third molars)
Wisdom teeth can be valuable for chewing when properly positioned in the mouth. Unfortunately, most people develop problems with this third set of molars because many mouths are simply not large enough to accommodate them when they grow in. When this happens the teeth may become impacted, which means that they are unable to erupt through the skin or misaligned in the jaw.
A Wisdom Tooth can grow into other teeth, or into the jawbone, or develop a pus filled cyst that can destroy the roots and nerves in other teeth and the jaw, increasing the potential for dangerous infections. Other people experience extremely painful headaches, as the pain from the jaw travels to the skull where it can aggravate tendons and muscles used for chewing and speaking.
Some lucky people keep their wisdom teeth with no problems while others must have them removed to prevent serious damage to their mouth. Removing wisdom teeth can be as simple as extracting an extra tooth or as complex as a bone graft. The duration and nature of the procedure depends greatly on the extent of the condition. Less complicated procedures can be performed in a dentist's office, while more elaborate corrections are usually referred to an oral surgeon.
In any event great care must be exercised to prevent serious post-operative complications. Removing a wisdom tooth from the back of the mouth is a complicated and time-consuming process, so many dentists go to great lengths to ensure that there are no unnecessary follow-up visits. After removing these unneeded teeth, most patients are relieved of the painful headaches and toothaches that accompany impacted wisdom teeth.
You don't have to live with pain anymore. Consult a knowledgeable, qualified dentist in your area, and learn what it is to live life pain free.