Impacted teeth

About impacted teeth

Sometimes, instead of growing in the correct position inside your mouth, teeth stay buried beneath the jawbone in your gum. These are called impacted teeth.

This usually happens when your mouth doesn’t have enough space for all your teeth to grow through.

You can also have partially impacted teeth – where the tooth starts to come through the gum, but never fully breaks through.

Which teeth become impacted?

Two different types of teeth can commonly be impacted: canines and wisdom teeth.

  • Canines are your corner teeth, sometimes known as ‘fangs’. There are two in your top jaw and two in your bottom jaw. Your canines give you a symmetrical smile and they’re your sharpest teeth, used for chewing.

  • Your wisdom teeth are the last four of the large grinding teeth (molars) at the back of your mouth to come through. They usually come through when you’re in your twenties. If your wisdom teeth are problematic, your dentist may suggest removing them.

Symptoms of impacted teeth

You might not have any symptoms with impacted teeth. If you do, these might include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain when you eat or bite down
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth

If you think your teeth might be impacted, or if you’re experiencing any pain, you should get in touch with your local practice. 

Treating impacted teeth

There are different options for treating impacted teeth, which will depend on your individual needs and which teeth are affected. These include:

  • Leaving and monitoring: If your impacted teeth aren’t causing any problems, your dentist might suggest leaving them. They’ll monitor them, including taking occasional X-rays, to see if any problems develop over time
  • Extracting the tooth: If your impacted teeth are causing pain, your dentist might recommend extracting the tooth/teeth. This is often the case with wisdom teeth or if your impacted teeth could negatively impact your oral health. You can usually have this done in one day, either at your local practice or in hospital.
  • Surgery and braces to move the tooth: If your dentist thinks it’s necessary, you can have an operation to uncover the buried tooth. This usually only happens if your canine is impacted and it involves removing a small ‘window’ of gum and bone to help it grow into your mouth. You’ll then need fixed braces to shift the canine into the correct position.

Find your local dentist

If you think you have an impacted tooth, or you’re experiencing any pain, search for your local practice below and get in touch. We can book you an appointment and talk you through possible treatment options.

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