For many people, the first time that they learn about impacted teeth is when a dentist or orthodontist x-rays their jaw and discovers impacted wisdom teeth.
But what is an impacted tooth? Are impacted teeth harmful? How can you remove them (and should you remove them at all)?
We’re here to talk about impacted teeth so you know what to do about your impacted tooth. Read on to learn more.
What Is an Impacted Tooth?
An impacted tooth is a tooth that never erupts, even though it’s in the jaw. There are several reasons that someone could have an impacted tooth.
For one, the problem is often genetic. Many people who have impacted teeth will then have children with impacted teeth.
Impacted teeth happen when there’s something obstructing the eruption of the tooth (often a small jaw or other misplaced teeth that are too close to the problematic tooth).
Are Impacted Teeth Always Bad?
Impacted teeth won’t always be problematic. Many people never realize that they have impacted teeth until a dentist or orthodontist points them out.
Orthodontists used to require that patients remove impacted wisdom teeth before they start braces, but this is no longer the case. As long as the teeth aren’t causing problems, they can stay.
Sometimes impacted teeth can cause pain. If the tooth is always “trying” to erupt, it will irritate your gums and the surrounding teeth.
Impacted teeth can harbor bacteria. They can result in problems with your gums and other teeth. This is when it’s time for an impacted tooth removal.
Impacted Tooth Removal: How Is It Done?
So how does one do an impacted tooth removal?
Most of the time, an oral surgeon needs to take care of the problem. These removals aren’t simple extractions. The surgeon will have to cut into your gums to get to the problematic tooth.
For children, it’s often enough to remove a surrounding baby tooth. This leaves room for the impacted tooth to erupt.
If you don’t want to remove the tooth, you can also see an orthodontist. They can adjust your jaw and surrounding teeth until there’s room for the tooth to move into its proper place. This is a lengthy and painful process, but it has produced great results for many people.
Surgical orthodontics combines oral surgery with orthodontic apparatuses to bring impacted teeth out without the need for removal. Children tend to have more success with this method because their jaws are still malleable, but some adults will also benefit from it.
Do You Have an Impacted Tooth?
Next time you go to the dentist, ask about whether or not you have an impacted tooth. Remember, impacted teeth might be unnoticeable. You have the option to fix it with surgery or orthodontics if it’s causing problems!
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