What Is An Impacted Tooth?

Posted on: May 16, 2018

What is an impacted tooth? We get this question from time to time as people suffer from tooth or jaw pain. Sometimes, this pain is the result of an impacted tooth that does not grow in properly. An impacted tooth can grow in sideways, not fully break through the gums or comes in crooked to the point that it does not fully erupt through the gums.

Often, a portion of the tooth tries to put pressure on a surrounding tooth, causing serious discomfort and pain. Impacted teeth are a common problem with wisdom teeth. When wisdom teeth grow in, there is often not enough room in the mouth to allow for them to grow normally. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause the patient discomfort, causing the need for removal of the tooth.

Removing an impacted tooth

Determining the cause of an impacted tooth is not enough. It is necessary to treat the tooth by extracting it. This is the only way to eliminate the pain caused by the impacted tooth. To do so, we may need to complete the oral surgery.

The typical steps for this procedure include:

1. Putting a patient to sleep

This ensures that patients remain entirely comfortable and unaware while the surgery is taking place.

2. Creating a flap in the gum tissue

This allows us to access the tooth underneath.

3. Wiggle the tooth

If we can wiggle the tooth and lift it out of the socket, we will.

4. Extract the tooth in pieces

If we are unable to lift the tooth out of the socket as is, we will need to break it into smaller pieces and remove them one by one.

5. Clean the area

Once the tooth has been removed, we will need to thoroughly clean the area.

6. Lay the flap down

We will then lay the gum flap back down and suture it in place.

7. Use gauze

We will place gauze on the area to help stop the bleeding.

8. Recovery process

It is normal for the area to be sore for several days. It may also swell. During that time, a cool compress or ice pack can be used on the surface of the skin to help reduce swelling. Ibuprofen can also be useful for doing that and reducing pain.

Patients need to be careful with what they eat and drink initially and we will provide a full list of do's and don'ts after the procedure.

What is the risk of keeping an impacted tooth?

After finding out "What is an impacted tooth?" and discovering that they have an impacted tooth, many patients ask why they cannot simply leave the tooth in place. The answer is twofold.

First, an impacted tooth can lead to a lot of pain as it pushes on the surrounding teeth. This pushing motion can also move the teeth forward which is detrimental to anyone who has spent time straightening teeth using orthodontics.

Next, there is a risk of infection with an impacted tooth. Very often, there will be some strange gaps in between the tooth and the gums or the impacted tooth and the adjacent one. This becomes a breeding ground for bacteria as food becomes trapped in the small spaces.

Impacted teeth regularly become infected and this can lead to an infection with the adjacent teeth and even in the jaw. Therefore, removing an impacted tooth is critical to a person's health.

Schedule an appointment

To ask questions like, "What is an impacted tooth?" learn more about impacted teeth or to discuss ways of removing them further, call our Playa Vista dental office and schedule an appointment today.

Request a dental appointment here: https://www.playavistadentalcare.com or call Playa Vista Dental Care at (310) 589-3146 for an appointment in our Playa Vista dental office.


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