Before we tell you why you should take care of an impacted tooth, we will explain what an impacted tooth is. An impacted tooth is a tooth that is coming in, like adult teeth that come in after you lose your baby teeth, but for some reason is not erupting as it should. Erupting is what we call it when a tooth pops out and erupts through your gums, much like a volcano!
If the tooth doesn't break through the gum or only partially breaks through the gum, it is called an impacted tooth. Impacted teeth are more commonly associated with wisdom teeth that usually don't erupt until you are 17 or more. Usually, by the time you are 21 your wisdom teeth have all come in. Sometimes this happens when the adult teeth are coming in, but it is far less common.
What Problems Can It Cause?
If a tooth becomes impacted it can push on the other teeth and cause them to become misaligned. They may shift sideways or tilt as they try to come in. If they partially come in, they can trap food particles and plaque in the tissue that surrounds the impacted tooth. This can cause tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. It can also cause inflammation or swelling around the eruption site.
The structural problems they can cause to the neighboring teeth can cause you to have to handle the problems caused to the structure. The fact that they have opened the gum can allow bacteria to seep in and that can cause a gum infection.
Since the teeth around the impacted tooth are changing position and are being squeezed, it makes brushing and flossing properly difficult. There are areas you used to reach that you now won't be able to, which can lead to tooth decay on these teeth. You can also develop a cyst that will damage the bone of the good teeth.
If you think you have an impacted tooth, don't hesitate. Make an appointment so we can correct the problem before it gets worse.