Impacted teeth are unerupted or partially erupted teeth that cannot fully erupt due to:
1) Lack of space (crowding)
2) Misalignment (tooth is rotated out of position)
3) Conflicting position (another tooth has erupted over thatposition)
4) Ankylosis - when other causes of impaction are not corrected in a timelymanner, the roots of the impacted tooth can fuse to the surrounding bonecreating a tooth frozen in an unerupted or partially erupted state.
The teeth most likely to become impacted are the third molars,also known as wisdom teeth. The first molars are also known as the6-year molars since they generally erupt at around age 6, and the second molarsare also known as the 12-year molars since they generally erupt at around age12. If the third molars erupted normally, they might be called 18-yearmolars. But there is rarely enough space to fit the last teeth into thesmall space left behind the second molars, so the third molars often becomeimpacted.
The most important thing to know about impactedteeth is that they almost always require extraction. The longer the extractionis postponed, the longer the tooth roots grow. When the tooth roots of animpacted tooth are allowed to develop, the risk of complication dueto extraction increases significantly because the tooth roots may wraparound sensitive facial nerves.
Therisks of keeping an impacted tooth extend beyond the impacted tooth itself. Anyimpacted tooth will exert forces on the arch of your smile that may causeunnecessary crowding of your teeth. An impacted tooth below the gum surface mayerode the roots of adjacent teeth. An impacted tooth above the gum line maycreate a food trap that is difficult to brush or floss and is likelyto lead to decay.
If you have an impacted tooth and you are not fully aware of the risks andalternatives associated with keeping or extracting an impacted tooth, pleaseContact Us for an appointment.