Impacted tooth is when a tooth doesn’t fully erupt or come out of the gums. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the most common teeth to become impacted because they are the last to develop. They begin to form at about nine years of age but don’t emerge through the gum tissue until the late teens or early twenties, at which point the jaws may have already stopped growing.
Your dentist can tell for sure if you have an impacted tooth. A dental X-ray is usually taken to confirm the presence of an impacted tooth. But before you visit the dentist, you may experience some symptoms that let you know something isn’t right.
These signs may include:
Pain or tenderness of the gums, which may also be accompanied by swelling and redness, space in the gums where the tooth did not come out, bad breath and an unpleasant taste when biting down or near the affected area, usually indicating pericoronitis, swollen lymph nodes and difficulty opening the mouth.
Sometimes an impacted tooth will just sit under the gums in peace, seemingly not causing any trouble. But usually, the only recourse is a tooth extraction, a procedure that will typically be performed by a dentist or oral surgery specialist.