Impacted teeth are those that cannot erupt properly into their place in the mouth. They are typically stuck in the process of eruption. In children, these teeth can be anywhere, but they typically show up in adults’ third molar position, known as wisdom teeth. Also commonly impacted is the maxillary cuspid, or upper eyetooth, closer to the front of your bite.
We have all heard about wisdom teeth; we all know most of us need to have them removed. But why? What is the reason we cannot live forever with impacted teeth in our mouths? Why can they not erupt properly? Especially when it comes to wisdom teeth that hide in the back of the mouth, what is the risk of keeping them? We have all the answers:
What can impacted teeth do to your bite?
Imagine inviting another person to a table with the optimal amount of seats around it. The rest of the group has to shuffle, some staggering back and forth, to make room for the extra chair. The same is true of your teeth. If an extra tooth is trying to erupt without enough space, it can cause crowding of your other teeth, which can appear to be overlapping or protruding. This crowding can undo years of orthodontic work if you do not treat the condition as soon as you notice the problem.
How do impacted teeth affect your jaw and oral health?
Pain, pressure and the risk of infection can all have an effect not only on the impacted tooth itself but on your overall oral health as well. Your gums are at risk of redness, tenderness, swelling and bleeding. You may even contract oral infections just by leaving an impacted tooth untreated, which may cause serious complications for your overall health.
How can you detect an impacted tooth?
While you may be lucky and have your dentist or oral hygienist catch the impacted tooth during your semi-annual appointment, it is important to notice these clear signs that something is off with your oral health. The following are common symptoms of tooth impaction:
- Gums that are swollen, tender or bleeding
- Swelling or pain around your jaw
- Halitosis (bad breath) or a consistent bad taste in your mouth
- Issues with jaw mobility or TMJ complications
Can impacted teeth be dangerous?
Contrary to popular belief, a dental emergency is not only an extreme like a knocked out tooth or broken jaw. A dental emergency can be an infection that needs immediate attention but may not be immediately apparent.
Impacted teeth can cause infections like perisoronitis if the tooth partially erupts and then becomes inflamed (usually by food). This condition can cause infection that affects your health beyond your teeth.
Crowding caused by an erupted impacted tooth not only puts you at risk for further orthodontic work. Overcrowding can eventually lead to tooth decay and affect your bite, causing you to struggle with chewing and speaking. Because your teeth can shift so quickly, it is important to treat your impacted teeth immediately.
How can we help?
At the Southern California Center for Surgical Arts, we are lucky to have Dr. Elias, Los Angeles’ leading oral maxillofacial surgeon, who is known for the excellent care he takes of his patients. While most people hate seeing a dentist, Dr. Elias makes it easy to care for your oral health, as he is gentle, informative and precise in his treatments. If you are suffering from an impacted tooth, please feel free to call us today to schedule a consultation. Our staff would be happy to answer any of your questions.
The Southern California Center for Surgical Arts: (818) 696-4425.