Oral Surgery

What Is An Impacted Tooth?

Each tooth is formed within your jaw bones. As it develops, it usually travels towards its appropriate place in your dental arch. This is normal and except for mild discomfort when a tooth “erupts,” all will be well. However, if the tooth travels in the wrong direction, or if its progress is blocked by another tooth or impeded by the dense bone structure of your jaw, the tooth becomes impacted.

How Serious Is An Impacted Tooth?

It usually isn’t normal for a tooth to remain beneath the surface beyond an age of about 21, and difficulties may develop. For example, decay can occur even though an impacted tooth is not visible from the outside. Saliva with all the bacteria normally present in the mouth can reach the crown of an impacted tooth. When decay does occur, there is no way for a dentist to fill such a cavity and severe pain will result.

Another problem is pericoronitis, an infection that forms around the crown of the tooth. As with any infection that is unchecked, it may spread to the surrounding tissues with the potential of general body illness.

A third problem has to do with the pressure the impacted tooth produces on those teeth that have erupted. This pressure may injure the roots of good teeth or push them out of position and affect your ability to chew food normally.

There is also the possibility of a cyst forming around the impacted tooth. This can result in the destruction of bone tissue, as well as damage to other teeth.

Must The Tooth Come Out If It Hasn’t Caused Trouble Yet?

No one can tell when an impacted tooth will cause you trouble. But trouble may arise and if it does, it will come unexpectedly and at inconvenient times.