FOUNDATION DENTAL

DENTAL AND FACIAL TRAUMA CENTRE

An impacted tooth is one that fails to erupt into the dental arch within the expected developmental window. Because impacted teeth do not erupt, they are retained throughout the individual's lifetime unless extracted or exposed surgically. Teeth may become impacted because of adjacent teeth, dense overlying bone, excessive soft tissue or a genetic abnormality. Most often, the cause of impaction is inadequate arch length and space in which to erupt. The wisdom teeth (third molars) are frequently impacted because they are the last teeth to erupt in the oral cavity. Mandibular third molars are more commonly impacted than their maxillary counterparts. As a general rule, all impacted teeth must be removed except canine teeth; canines do not need surgery and may just remain buried and give no further problems.

  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty opening the mouth (occasionally)
  • Pain or tenderness of the gums (gingiva) or jaw bone
  • Prolonged headache or jaw ache
  • Redness and swelling of the gums around the impacted tooth
  • Swollen lymph nodes of the neck (occasionally)
  • Unpleasant taste when biting down on or near the area
  • Visible gap where a tooth did not emerge

Dental Impactions

Causes: 

Teeth start to pass through the gums (emerge) during infancy, and again when the primary (baby) teeth are replaced by the permanent teeth. If a tooth fails to emerge, or emerges only partially, it is considered to be impacted. The most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth (the third set of molars). They are the last teeth to emerge, usually between the ages of 17 and 21.

An impacted tooth remains stuck in gum tissue or bone for various reasons. It may be that the area is just overcrowded and there's no room for the teeth to emerge. For example, the jaw may be too small to fit the wisdom teeth. Teeth may also become twisted, tilted, or displaced as they try to emerge, resulting in impacted teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are very common. They are often painless and cause no apparent trouble. However, some professionals believe an impacted tooth pushes on the next tooth, which pushes the next tooth, eventually causing a misalignment of the bite. A partially emerged tooth can trap food, plaque, and other debris in the soft tissue around it, leading to inflammation and tenderness of the gums and unpleasant mouth odor. This is called pericoronitis.ad breath

Symptoms: