When dentists mention impacted teeth, many people may not know what that means. What is an impacted tooth, and what does it mean if you have one? Commonly, the third molars or wisdom teeth are the teeth that become impacted and require removal by a dentist. Impacted tooth treatment is usually a surgical procedure provided by a dentist or a dental surgeon under general anesthesia and sedation. There are many reasons a tooth may become impacted, and they aren’t the same for every person. Once impacted teeth begin to affect everyday life, it’s essential to talk to a dentist about the next best steps.
What Is an Impacted Tooth?
Much like many dental and oral complications, making an appointment every six months with a dentist for a cleaning is the best way to catch an impacted tooth before it can produce painful or unpleasant symptoms. X-rays often accompany cleaning and are likely to see impacted teeth, most often molars, that may be displaced, unable to emerge, or need removal. Some of the symptoms of impacted teeth can be subtle or extreme:
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Pain in the jaw
- Swelling of the jaw
- Bad breath
Fun Fact About Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Over time, as the diets of humans changed and evolved, the jaw became less and less developed due to a lack of Vitamin K2. This vitamin is abundant in diets that include liver and organ meats and the meat of grass-fed animals like cows. Low-fat diets, factory farming, and restricted diets for babies and young children led to this nutrient being almost lost entirely in the human diet. Such a drastic change ultimately led to the stunted growth of the jawbones. Eventually, the wisdom teeth could not erupt correctly in most cases due to a lack of developed jaws in human beings.
How Are Impacted Teeth Treated?
The extraction of the impacted teeth is a surgical procedure that involves local and general anesthesia, so there will be very little or no memory of the event and as little pain as possible. The dentist will open the gums to see the impacted teeth, moving any bone or tissue obscuring the view and removing the impacted teeth, whether whole or in easier-to-manage pieces.
After removal, the dentist may apply stitches to the open area to assist with healing, but that’s not always necessary. Dentists may prescribe pain relievers for the days following the procedure, but over-the-counter pain relievers may also work to ease the pain throughout the healing period. During the first twenty-four hours, a patient will most likely receive instructions to avoid brushing teeth or rinsing to prevent trauma to the area or movement of bacteria.
If, after surgically removing impacted teeth from the jaw, there are any of the symptoms that follow, contact a dentist immediately:
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Excessive bleeding (from the socket or in nasal discharge)
- Severe pain
- A bad taste in your mouth unrelieved by a saltwater rinse
- Persistent numbness or loss of feeling
Because the surgical removal of impacted teeth involves incisions and exposure of the jaw bone to open air, the danger of infection is much more severe than with a regular cleaning. Being conscious of symptoms post-surgery is vital to ensure no serious implications arise from impacted tooth removal.
Call Greenwood Dental About Impacted Tooth Treatment
Impacted teeth can be highly uncomfortable and challenge everyday activities like chewing or talking. While surgical intervention can seem financially daunting, there are always ways to ensure that your teeth and oral health are taken care of when needed. Greenwood Dental looks forward to helping you on your journey to being pain-free and confident in your smile and your life. Call 855.528.3961 to make an appointment for a check-up today.