Our Lovett Dental Katy team is proud to provide dental professionals to anyone in need of dental services, from basic cleanings to more involved operations like removing impacted teeth. Many people, particularly children, and teenagers will experience impacted teeth, specifically impacted wisdom teeth, which will require professional care. The following is a look at why and how to know when it’s time to get yours or your loved one’s impacted teeth removed:

Defining Impacted Teeth Woman struggles with the pain associated with impact

Impacted teeth is a term used by dentists and orthodontists to refer to either a tooth that has not fully come in when expected or a tooth that cannot fully come in due to there being not enough room, growing in the wrong direction, or growing in the wrong position. Dentists will also commonly refer to this process of growing in as “erupting,” as in the wisdom tooth cannot erupt due to there being not enough room.

Why Wisdom Teeth Commonly Require Impacted Teeth Removal

Impacted teeth can happen at any age and due to various reasons, but it is most commonly associated with the third molars, also called wisdom teeth. There are four third molars, and they are located at the very back of one’s mouth (two on top, two on bottom). These are the very last four teeth that will break through (erupt) the gums and will generally start to develop and do so during one’s teenage years (although for some people, these teeth may not erupt until early to mid-20s).

Because they are the very last to emerge, it is common that they don’t have enough room or that their eruption process will cause pain due to that lack of room or the bad direction in which they erupt. Wisdom teeth become impacted teeth when one’s jaw is too small, and they don’t have enough room to erupt, when the jaw is already overcrowded when the wisdom teeth erupt twisted or push towards other teeth, or if they are unable to break through the gums at all, remaining instead stuck deep in the jawbone.

Types of Impacted Teeth

  • Horizontal impaction occurs when the tooth moves or grows horizontally and pushes on the molar directly in front of it. Horizontal tooth impaction is incredibly painful and will almost always require impacted teeth removal.
  • Vertical impaction occurs when the tooth erupts vertically beneath a molar, either partially or fully. A partial vertical impaction can be remedied without surgery.
  • Distal impaction occurs when the tooth erupts at an angle towards the back of the mouth. This is uncommon and may be treated with or without surgery.
  • Mesial impaction occurs when the tooth erupts at an angle towards the front of the mouth (opposite of distal impaction). This is the most common type of tooth impaction and may be treated with or without surgery and removal.

Symptoms of Impacted Teeth and Wisdom Teeth

Impacted teeth that are blocked from erupting correctly will cause symptoms that include:

  • Irritated, red, swollen gums that are primarily localized at the area of the impacted teeth
  • Discomfort when opening one’s mouth — discomfort ranging from mild irritation to searing pain
  • Jaw pain causing insomnia or an inability to sleep
  • Pain and potential bleeding when chewing and eating
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Headaches ranging from mild to intense cluster migraines
  • Swollen neck and lymph nodes

Schedule Your Dental Appointment at Lovett Dental Katy to Learn More

Are you or is your loved one experiencing any of the above symptoms? Don’t let the pain continue, and don’t let your fear of surgery keep you from finding relief. Contact our team at Lovett Dental Katy today at 832.662.2852, or contact us online to learn more about impacted teeth and all of your available options.