By definition, a tooth is impacted when it doesn’t break through the gum as it normally should. It’s common with wisdom teeth, but it can happen to others as well, particularly if your mouth is overcrowded.
Impacted teeth may not cause problems, but sometimes they’ll ache or hurt, and their position could press against other teeth, causing bite misalignments. Partially impacted teeth may trap food debris and plaque, leading to decay and gum disease.
If you suspect you have impacted teeth, visit us at Lee Dental in Frisco, Texas. Dr. Clyde Lee and Dr. Julie Lee can diagnose your condition and deal with the problem teeth, typically through extraction, though in some cases, they may opt to simply monitor your teeth over time until problems begin.
How do you know when you’ve got an impacted tooth? We’ve compiled a list of the telltale signs of an impacted tooth, as well as those that are partially impacted.
Impacted tooth symptoms
Chances are, tooth impaction is first discovered through routine X-rays during check-up appointments. Wisdom teeth are the most commonly impacted teeth, and sometimes they may be in abnormal positions due to crowding in your mouth.
It’s common for wisdom teeth to collapse sideways while remaining under the gums. You may be completely unaware of this because often, there are no symptoms associated with this type of impaction. If the impacted teeth press against adjacent teeth, you may encounter the first telltale sign of tooth impaction.
Discomfort or pain in the gums and jaw
Continuous pressure on a tooth can cause it to move in the direction of the pressure. Since a tooth anchors into the jaw, this movement isn’t fast. Bone tissue responds to the pressure by compressing on one side of a tooth and expanding on the opposite side.
This action can cause a dull ache until the pressure balances. Orthodontic patients undergo a day or two of this type of pain after an adjustment of their braces. In the case of an impaction, the pressure may continue.
Signs of infection
Partially impacted teeth tend to create more symptoms, since there are spaces for food debris, plaque, and bacteria to collect. This can lead to a range of problems that vary widely in severity. These signs can include:
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant tastes, particularly when biting down in the area of the impaction
- Pain or tenderness near the impacted tooth
- Gums that are red and/or swollen
- Swollen lymph nodes, a common indication of infection
- Occasional problems when opening your mouth
In some cases, a partially impacted tooth may become abscessed or decayed, or the problem may spread to adjacent teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can sometimes affect nerve or artery tissue in the mandibular canal.
Visit Lee Dental when an impacted tooth begins to cause problems. We’re extraction specialists, so we can diagnose and treat your issue. Contact our office to schedule an appointment today.