An impacted tooth is a tooth that has not broken through the gums. This condition is most commonly associated with wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth may remain in the gums causing no symptoms or side effects, however, in many cases, an impacted tooth can cause swelling and pain.
An impacted tooth may occur because of an overcrowded jaw or because the tooth is coming in at an odd angle and there is no room for the tooth to descend into the mouth.
Symptoms of an Impacted Tooth
In some cases, an impacted tooth will show no signs at all. Symptoms of an impacted tooth may include:
- Bad breath
- Painful gums
- Difficulty opening the mouth
To diagnose an impacted tooth, the dentist will inspect the affected area and perform dental X-rays to confirm that the tooth is impacted.
Treatment of an Impacted Tooth
There are different methods of treatment for an impacted tooth. An impacted tooth that is not causing any symptoms may require no treatment at all. Infection caused by the impacted tooth may be treated with antibiotics. An impacted tooth that is causing pain and discomfort will usually require extraction to relieve symptoms. Most people recover well from tooth extraction with minimal complications.
- Medline Plus
- National Institutes of Health
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine