Impacted tooth is the one that erupts through the gums or erupts only partially by the expected age. The third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to come out. Most commonly they come out when one is between the age of 16-20 years.
Being the last teeth to come out, wisdom tooth can often cause problem and can become impacted. It may get impacted if the space left in the mouth is not adequate to accommodate them. At times, wisdom teeth may become impacted if it turns to one side, gets tilted or is positioned erroneously.
You may either have no problems or experience discomfort when they are coming out. The pain can radiate or may be felt in nearby teeth or the ear on the same side. A partially erupted tooth can cause other problems like gum swelling, tooth decay, change in bite (the way the teeth come together), and an infection (pericoronitis) due to collection of food and other debris under the gum. Impacted tooth can cause formation of a follicular (dentigerous) cyst as well. This can injure nearby teeth and even destroy the nearby bone.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will evaluate your teeth and mouth to figure out if you have impacted wisdom teeth or there is another reason behind discomfort. Besides examining your mouth, he/she will ask questions about your dental symptoms and general health. An examination of the condition of your teeth and gums will be done. Moreover, dental X-rays is taken to determine the presence of impacted teeth as well as damage to teeth or bone.
Some dentists suggest removing wisdom teeth to prevent future potential problems while others go a more conservative approach considering that wisdom teeth is not causing problems in young adulthood. In a conservative approach, your dentist will monitor your teeth for decay, gum disease or other complications.
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