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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

My intense love for candy, cakes, and everything in between started as a child. I simply couldn't go one day without something sweet to eat. But my love for all things sweet took a toll on my teeth. My dentist diagnosed me with seven cavities, each one a different size and depth. After sitting through four long dental appointments, I decided to make a change. I now monitor my diet and only eat things that benefit my oral health. I'm here to help you take better care of your teeth. My blog offers tips on how to improve your diet, maintain good oral hygiene, and many other topics. Hopefully, you can learn to overcome your bad habits just as I did. Good luck with your future dental health.


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Dental Health and Food: Learning to Eat Better

Frequently Asked Questions About Impacted Teeth

by Eric Bailey

Ideally, after your primary teeth have completely fallen out, your permanent teeth begin to emerge and the transition will happen smoothly. Unfortunately, sometimes your permanent teeth don't completely burst out of your gums, which can lead to a lot of discomfort and trips to the dentist. If you or a family member is dealing with an impacted tooth, here are a few frequently asked questions you might have:

What is an Impacted Tooth and Why Do They Occur?

When your tooth doesn't completely erupt and it becomes lodged in the gums, it is impacted. The most common teeth that become impacted are wisdom teeth. In most cases, a tooth will become impacted because there isn't enough room for the tooth in your mouth.

For the majority of people, an impacted tooth is very painful and noticeable. However, in other cases, you may not even realize your tooth is impacted, especially if it is your wisdom tooth. If this is the case, you might be wondering why you should even bother having the affected tooth extracted at all. Your dentist will probably tell you that it is critical to have your impacted tooth pulled, even if it is not painful. This is because, eventually, your impacted tooth can start pushing on the adjacent teeth in your mouth, and those adjacent teeth will then impact nearby teeth. The sequence will continue until you have a mouth filled with misaligned teeth.

What Are the Symptoms of an Impacted Tooth?

One of the most noticeable and common symptoms of an impacted tooth is pain. However, once again, not all patients suffer from pain associated with their impacted tooth. In this case, you will need to rely on other symptoms to help you determine if your tooth is impacted. Here are a few symptoms commonly associated with an impacted tooth:

  • Problems opening your mouth. This often occurs when a wisdom tooth is impacted
  • Bad taste near the affected area
  • Halitosis
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Headaches
  • Aching jaws

The best way for you to determine at home if you have an impacted tooth is to examine your own mouth in the mirror. If you see an area where there is a noticeable gap and the gums in that spot are red, swollen and painful, chances are you have an impacted tooth.

How Will the Dentist Diagnose and Treat My Impacted Tooth?

If you suspect you have an impacted tooth, the first step you need to take is to visit your dentist. Your dentist will perform an oral examination and potentially take x-rays to determine if you have an impacted tooth and see the extent of the damage. In some cases, an impacted tooth can become infected. If this is the case, your dentist will treat the infection and suggest a course of treatment.

In cases where the impacted tooth isn't causing any pain and isn't pushing on the surrounding teeth, your dentist may advise you to leave the tooth in the gums. However, if you are experiencing pain or the impacted tooth is infected or pushing on the adjacent teeth, your dentist will probably recommend tooth extraction.

According to WebMD, during an extraction, the dentist will begin by gently slicing the gums to expose the impacted tooth. Next, the dentist will gently wiggle the tooth with a pair of forceps to pull it out. In some cases, the tooth will break and it will need to be removed in pieces.

It's not uncommon to suffer from an impacted tooth and, in most cases, if it must be extracted the process will be quick and relatively painless. If you suspect you have an impacted tooth, don't hesitate to contact your dentist.