An impacted tooth is stuck in the jaw bone and cannot erupt into function. The most commonly impacted teeth are wisdom teeth. These teeth often get impacted due to insufficient space at the back of mouth for eruption. Impacted wisdom teeth can develop into painful infections among a host of other problems.
The second most commonly impacted tooth is the upper canine (eyetooth). The canine is a critical tooth in the dental arch for function and aesthetic. It is the strongest tooth with the longest root. Additionally, it is one of the front teeth that form the cornerstone of a person’s smile.
Any teeth, other than the wisdom teeth or canines, can become impacted in the jawbone.
Normally, the upper canines are the last front teeth to erupt into place. When the jaw is overcrowded, teeth are competing for space. There may not be sufficient space to accommodate the canines that come in last. This restricts the eruption of canines.
Presence of overcrowding in any area in the mouth, can potentially restrict eruption of any teeth or divert the eruption path of teeth.
An adult tooth can be trapped in the bone if the baby tooth does not fall out on time. The eruption of a tooth can be stopped if an obstacle, such as an extra tooth, lies along the pathway of eruption.
Certain pathologies may prevent dental eruption. One of the most common pathology is dental cyst.
Damage to other teeth
Impacted teeth can grow and ‘bump’ into root structure of neighboring teeth causing root damage (root resorption). Severe root damage can lead to tooth loss.
Cyst may develop around impacted teeth. Enlarging cysts can damage the supporting bone and roots of neighboring teeth. Thinned supporting bones are at an increased risk of fracture. A growing cyst can also push adjacent teeth out of position.
There are a number of treatment options for impacted teeth. Treatment depends on the position of impacted tooth, age of patient, availability of space, and treatment duration.
The impacted tooth may be left in situ and monitored regularly with x-ray films. If the baby tooth is present, if may be kept until it loosens, and replaced with a false tooth.
Alternatively, the impacted tooth can be uncovered with a small surgical procedure and bring into the correct position in the mouth with orthodontic treatment.
Are you suffering from this condition? See one of our specialist orthodontists for an assessment.