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What Does Impaction Mean?

When we’re born we usually have enough room in our mouth for exactly 32 teeth, but while this is enough space for most people, some unfortunates get to anticipate the arrival of their wisdom teeth. Others were born with mouths that were too small to accommodate the normal 32, or with teeth that are angled in a way that makes their arrival press against, rather than come up alongside, other teeth. These conditions are the ones most likely to result in the painful condition known as impaction. Impacted teeth can twist, tilt, break, or reposition existing teeth in ways that can result in expensive orthodontic treatment.

What Symptoms Will Let Me Know My Teeth Are Impacted?

Identifying impaction without the benefit of your dentist is usually a painful process. Impaction typically doesn’t let itself be known until its already causing problems for your existing teeth, but early warning signs can be infections in otherwise healthy teeth, stiffness in the jaw, swollen gums, and pain. If you’re experiencing these symptoms it’s likely past time to make an appointment and speak to your dentist about an examination.

What Can Happen With Untreated Impactions?

Damage caused by impaction can become pretty severe, resulting in permanent alterations to the shape of your teeth, cracking, chipping, and more. Extensive orthodontic repair can be needed for patients who let an impaction go on too far. In cases where orthodontic treatment can’t repair an impaction, such as with wisdom teeth, surgical extraction is often the next step. Removing the offending tooth is often the only way to properly treat an impaction.

The Varieties Of Tooth Impaction

The six different tooth impaction types are defined by the circumstances surrounding the impaction, including direction and placement.

  • Mesial Impaction – This term described teeth that are coming in facing the front of the mouth.

  • Distal Impaction – When impacted teeth are facing the back of the mouth, this term is used.

  • Horizontal Impaction – This describes impaction coming in along the jawline.

  • Vertical Impaction – When a tooth is trying to come in in the standard direction but lacks room.

  • Soft Tissue Impaction – When an impaction leads to a tooth breaking through the gum-line.

  • Bony Impaction – Impactions of teeth caused by encasement in bone are bony impactions.

Wisdom teeth are a condition that affects over half of all patients, and almost always lead to impacted teeth. Various techniques can identify tooth impaction before it occurs, including x-rays, allowing dentists to remove the issue so no damage occurs. Early identification is the best way to make sure that you don’t suffer the pain and damage of having impacted teeth.

If you have impacted teeth or are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms associated with impaction, it’s time to see a professional. Impactions can quickly become serious, so pick up the phone and call Dr. David Pendleton at the Rockdale Smiles Center Today. Their Rockdale, TX based team helps patients like you manage serious dental concerns like dental impaction every day.

Dr. Beau Blankenship, DDS Under the guidance of Dr. Beau Blankenship, Sabal General Dentistry brings dental care to families in and around the Rockdale, TX area with over a decade of experience. As a dental surgery graduate of the University of Texas Health Science Center, he focuses on building patient relationships that last a lifetime.

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