An impacted tooth may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you have a toothache, as there are more common dental problems – such as tooth decay – that may be the culprit for your discomfort. After more diagnostics such as a dental x-ray, more details about an impacted tooth will become apparent to help you deal with this often-uncomfortable problem.
An impacted tooth problem arises when the tooth, for some reason, does not break through from under the gum line in a normal manner like the other natural teeth. These impacted teeth may not be noticeable, and may only be discovered after dental x-rays have been made due to discomfort being felt in the general area. This problem more commonly involves the third molars – also referred to as “wisdom teeth – which come in when the jaw has stopped growing and thus has no more space for additional teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth tend to grow sideways and push painfully against neighbouring teeth.
Impacted teeth that do not cause any problems may be left alone and only monitored for possible issues in the future. However, an impacted tooth that is causing pain and/or is decayed will need to be removed with a surgical dental procedure. The extraction is necessary to stop the spread of infection to the other teeth and surrounding tissue, to prevent the neighbouring teeth from being pushed from their normal positions, and to provide long-lasting pain relief.