The A-Z of Family Dentistry: I is for Impacted Tooth

In the A-Z of family dentistry, each month we ask Robert to address a different dental concern.  This month we’re looking at impacted teeth, and what you need to know about them.

An impacted tooth is a tooth that doesn’t erupt out of the gum as expected. Some impacted teeth can remain buried inside the gums forever, though it’s usually recommended that impacted teeth are removed.

What causes impacted teeth?

There are a number of reasons why a tooth might not break through the gum. The most common is due to overcrowding. This is particularly likely to happen with wisdom teeth, as they’re the last teeth to come through and there may not be enough space left for them.

There are a few other reasons why teeth may become impacted:

  • Dense overlaying bone preventing them from coming through
  • Very soft gum tissue
  • Genetic abnormalities

How should an impacted tooth be treated?

If you have an impacted tooth, in most cases your dentist will recommend that it’s removed. This is usually the best course of action as it protects you from complications. An impacted tooth can increase your chances of gum disease and tooth decay.

The kind of tooth extraction you’ll need depends on where the tooth is. It may be possible to have a simple removal at your usual dental practice, or you may need to have a surgical removal in hospital.

Want to find out more?

You can read more about wisdom teeth removal on the NHS website.

Alternatively, please get in touch if you have concerns about an impacted tooth and want to talk to a dentist about it.

Next month in the A-Z of family dentistry, we’ll be moving onto the letter ‘J.’ Subscribe to our dental newsletter to make sure you don’t miss it.