An impacted tooth is unable to erupt through the gums properly, often because there’s not enough room in the jaw to accommodate the tooth. This condition is associated with a number of symptoms that you should discuss with your dentist.
Swelling or redness at the site may be an indicator of an impacted tooth, which will cause irritation as it continues to attempt to push through the gums. Impacted teeth can often cause discomfort, as well, and they are more susceptible to infection or abscesses, especially when they are partially erupted, as it can be difficult to keep them clean. So, bad breath or a fever may also signal that a tooth is impacted.
Because the large third molars, also known as the “wisdom teeth,” are the most likely to become impacted, any of these symptoms that appear to be originating from the back of your jaw may very well suggest an impacted wisdom tooth.
If you suspect that you may have an impacted tooth, you should consult with your dentist to determine what the appropriate treatment is. You will have an evaluation that will involve a visual examination as well as x-ray imaging to confirm the diagnosis.
The nature and location of the impacted tooth will determine what treatment is recommended. For example, if the impacted tooth is in a highly visible location, like a canine, the patient may be referred for orthodontic treatment that aims to coax the tooth to erupt into its correct position.
Alternatively, impacted wisdom teeth are typically extracted, as they serve minimal function for modern humans and don’t interfere with the smile’s appearance. Impacted wisdom teeth may need to be removed surgically if surrounding bone must be removed first in order to access and extract the teeth. It is recommended that patients have this procedure by their mid-twenties, when it is easier to remove the wisdom teeth.
Patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of impacted teeth so that they can seek appropriate treatment. If you have any concerns that you may have an impacted tooth, schedule an appointment at our office to be evaluated. Contact the office of Dr. Philip R. Kozlow today!