What is an Impacted Tooth and What Can You Do About It?

September 10, 2022

At American Dental, we work hard every day to make an impact on the oral health of our patients, but today, we want to tell you more about a different kind of impact – impacted teeth. An impacted tooth can cause a range of problems, and if you have one (or multiple), it’s important to see a dentist about it immediately. Here’s some more information about impacted teeth and what you can do if you have one.

What are Impacted Teeth?

As a child, you start to lose your baby teeth around age 6. When your permanent teeth start growing in, it is known as an eruption. Ideally, a permanent tooth will erupt fully and remain in position as the rest of the teeth erupt around it. However, it doesn’t always happen that way. When a tooth is unable to fully erupt, dentists say it is impacted, and it may cause problems for you as you get older.

What Causes Impacted Teeth?

The root causes of impacted teeth are not fully understood, but the dental community has identified a number of factors that can lead to impaction. Genetics is one factor. If a parent had an impacted tooth, you may have one in the same place. Tooth crowding can be another cause. If a baby tooth or another permanent tooth is blocking its path, a tooth may not fully erupt, or it may remain under the gums entirely. A cyst in the gum tissue can also prevent a permanent tooth from coming in correctly.

Complications Caused by Impacted Teeth

If you have an impacted tooth, it can cause a lot of issues. A tooth growing in the wrong direction can damage the roots of neighboring teeth, potentially causing them to die. Impacted teeth can also cause crowding as they attempt to erupt, causing crooked teeth and bite issues. This can make it difficult to chew and may even affect your speech. Finally, impacted teeth can become infected or cause an infection in the surrounding gum tissue, which can be life-threatening if left unchecked.

Treating Impacted Teeth

When a baby tooth is causing an impaction, it is usually a matter of removing it to give the permanent tooth a space to erupt. In other cases, orthodontic treatment may be necessary to resolve crowding and give all the permanent teeth enough room to grow straight. Orthodontia can also correct issues with jaw size that cause crowding and impaction. Sometimes, you may also need surgery to get impacted teeth to grow in correctly. In severe cases, a combination of treatment techniques may be required to achieve the desired results.

Treatment for Impacted Teeth in Chicago

When it comes to correcting impacted teeth, the younger you are when you start, the more options you will have for treatment. If you have issues with impacted wisdom teeth, or your child’s teeth are not growing in on schedule, the best thing to do is speak with a dentist immediately. If you live in the Chicago area, American Dental can help you! Call us today if you need orthodontics in Palos Heights or anywhere else in the area!

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