If your pediatric dentist in Tucson explains that your child has an impacted tooth, you may initially be a bit worried. But don’t fret. Impacted teeth are incredibly common in kids and teens. Even though impacted teeth are most often associated with wisdom teeth, the truth is any tooth can be impacted and can affect the development of the rest of your little one’s teeth and overall oral health.
An impacted tooth is essentially any tooth that doesn’t come in when and where it’s supposed to. Typically when a child loses a tooth, it’s because the adult tooth is pushing through the gums and is ready to make its appearance. However, this doesn’t always happen as planned. Sometimes a baby tooth falls out and other teeth crowd the area and block where the adult tooth is trying to erupt. Other times a baby tooth just doesn’t fall out when it should. This can cause an adult tooth to shift sideways and grow inside the gums instead of poking through the top.
What Causes Impacted Teeth?
As always, every case is different, but there are some top reasons why teeth may become impacted. One of the main causes of an impacted tooth is that a mouth is just too small for adult teeth to erupt as they’re supposed to. This is often the case with impacted wisdom teeth. When there’s not enough room in the mouth for new teeth to erupt, they can become impacted. Additionally, sometimes teeth simply do weird things and can grow sideways. There’s also a genetic factor at play. If one parent had an impacted tooth, your child is more likely to also have an impacted tooth.
Problems With Impacted Teeth
Impacted teeth can affect your child’s development, oral health, and overall health in a variety of ways, including:
- Speech Problems
- Pain When Chewing
- Gum Problems
- Bone Loss
Luckily, your pediatric dentist in Tucson can often see it coming thanks to dental x-rays. X-rays allow your kid’s dentist to take a closer look at the way teeth are erupting so we can make a plan for any situation.
How Do You Treat an Impacted Tooth?
First, it’s important to remember that an impacted tooth may not be an immediate cause for concern. After all, your pediatric dentist in Tucson sees this every day and is well-equipped to treat your child in a comfortable and relaxing environment. Treatment of an impacted tooth will vary depending on your child’s specific needs, how severe the impaction is, and how many teeth are affected. Some treatment options include:
- Extracting a stubborn baby tooth that’s in the way
- Orthodontic treatment to make room for adult teeth
- Palatal expander to create more space in the mouth for teeth
- Surgery to widen the jaw – this is the rarest treatment and only necessary for extreme situations
If the wisdom teeth are impacted, you may need to see a specialist to have them removed, but it’s incredibly important to extract impacted wisdom teeth. If they’re left untreated, they can cause pain as well as infection.
We understand that an impacted tooth may cause you to worry, but we’re here to help. Make sure to take your child to see her pediatric dentist at least twice a year for preventive checkups. The earlier an impacted tooth or potentially impacted tooth is caught, the treatment becomes easier. If it’s been longer than six months since your child’s last dental appointment, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today.