Meyer Orthodontics in Brookings Blog

What’s an Impacted Tooth, and How Can Orthodontic Care Help?

Impacted teeth can lead to further problems.

You may have heard the term “impacted tooth” before, but many people don’t know what that means, how it happens, or what role orthodontic care plays in correcting the issue.

An impacted tooth occurs when a tooth fails to grow – or erupt – properly out of the gums, or when a tooth is growing in the wrong direction. While this often happens with wisdom teeth, it can happen to other teeth as well. 

Causes and Symptoms

Teeth become impacted due to crowding and lack of space in the bone. Genetics can play a role, too.

If you or your child have an impacted tooth, you may experience pain in the jaw or a toothache. Additionally, if the teeth are crowded, it’s harder to clean between the teeth. This can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, gingivitis, inflammation, or gum disease.

While a child’s permanent teeth are coming in, they often can become impacted. If a baby tooth doesn’t come in on time, or if something like a cyst gets in the way, the permanent tooth can get trapped.

A lot can go wrong from here. If the tooth does erupt, it may appear in the wrong place or harm the roots of neighboring teeth. Crowding, tenderness, or pain can occur, and of course, all of this will also affect appearance.

Fixing an Impacted Tooth

Depending on the situation, there are a few different options for correcting problems caused by an impacted tooth.

Sometimes, a patient will simply need to have a baby tooth pulled to make room for the impacted permanent tooth. In some cases, the jaw is too narrow and will need to be expanded to make room for permanent teeth.

More severe cases can require a combination of oral surgery and/or orthodontic treatment. Here, your orthodontist will place an attachment on the impacted tooth and guide it into its proper position.

Identify Problems Before They Begin

This is a strong reason why it’s important to bring your child to an orthodontist for observation visits as they grow. By keeping an eye on your child’s oral health, we can identify and prevent problems before they arise.

Orthodontists’ specialization allows them to identify even subtle problems very early on and recommend intervention.

Here in Brookings, consultation visits are free. If you are concerned about the oral health of yourself or your child, contact us today to schedule a visit.