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Impacted Tooth Treatment: Everything You Need to Know

Impacted Tooth Treatment: Everything You Need to Know

A lot of people suffer from having an impacted tooth, or a tooth that hasn’t erupted. For most people, it shouldn’t be a problem, but there are cases that might require impacted tooth treatment.

What exactly causes an impacted tooth, and do people really need to undergo impacted tooth treatment?

What Causes an Impacted Tooth?

The usual reason for an impacted tooth is that there’s no space for the tooth to erupt. This usually happens to wisdom teeth, or the set of third molars. This is because wisdom teeth usually erupt when a person is 17 to 25 years old. At this point, people already have their permanent teeth, so it’s possible that it’s too “crowded” for wisdom teeth. Though, it’s also possible for wisdom teeth to erupt without any problems.

An impacted tooth can either be fully or partially impacted. Fully impacted means that the tooth is completely under the gums and cannot erupt, and it is not breaking through the gums.

In contrast, if a tooth is partially impacted, it means that part of it has erupted or has broken through the gums.

Either way, impacted teeth usually grow at a different angle compared to the rest of the teeth, or even completely sideways. It’s also possible for them to grow straight up or down, but get “trapped” within a person’s jaw.

impacted tooth treatment

What Problems Can You Have From an Impacted Tooth?

It’s possible for a person with impacted teeth to not experience any symptoms or problems whatsoever. But the most common symptoms and conditions people experience are the following:

  • Partially impacted teeth are prone to tooth decay.
  • Impacted teeth can push against other teeth, causing damage.
  • Cysts can develop within the jawbone, which can affect the nerves, bone, and teeth.
  • Gum swelling and disease can also develop.
  • It can cause misalignment of the teeth.
  • It can trigger the resorption of bone or teeth.

In order to prevent these problems from happening, a person with impacted teeth will need to undergo treatment.

Impacted Tooth Treatment: How is it Done?

When a person’s impacted tooth is not causing any problems, treatment usually is not needed. However, if symptoms start to appear, then treating the impaction would be recommended.

The most common form of treatment for impacted teeth is surgery. This means that the impacted wisdom tooth needs to be extracted so that it won’t cause any pain and complications. This is a pretty straightforward process, and patients can go home afterwards without any serious problems.

If your tooth needs to be extracted as part of impacted tooth treatment, the dentist will use some form of anesthesia. This helps numb the pain, and means that you won’t feel anything as the tooth is extracted.

In cases where the tooth has not fully erupted, the dentist will make an incision in your gums. This gives them better access to the tooth, and makes it easier for them to take it out. Otherwise, if the tooth has partially erupted, the dentist might opt to just pull it out to remove it.

In some cases, dentists might need to break up the tooth to make it easier to remove. The process itself can take only a few minutes. But it might take longer if the tooth is difficult to reach.

What happens after?

After extraction, if an incision has been made, then the dentist will suture it closed. Otherwise, the extraction site will be packed with gauze, which allows a blood clot to form.

It is important to not disturb the blood clot, as it is a part of the healing process. If the blood clot gets disturbed or removed, then you can experience a condition called dry socket, which can cause severe pain.

After undergoing impacted tooth treatment, some patients might experience swelling, pain, or bleeding. This is normal, and your dentist will give you tips on what you can do about it.

It will take about 6 weeks for the wound to completely heal. Afterward, you should experience no further problems.

Learn more about Dental Conditions here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Impacted tooth: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001057.htm#:~:text=Warm%20saltwater%20(one%2Dhalf%20teaspoon,done%20by%20an%20oral%20surgeon., Accessed February 5, 2021

Impacted wisdom teeth – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wisdom-teeth/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373813, Accessed February 5, 2021

Impacted wisdom teeth – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wisdom-teeth/symptoms-causes/syc-20373808, Accessed February 5, 2021

Impacted Tooth | Winchester Hospital, https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=230666, Accessed February 5, 2021

Treatment options for impacted teeth – PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10832256/, Accessed February 5, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Jun 24
Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc