An impacted tooth is a tooth that has not been able to erupt due to being blocked by another tooth or any obstruction that prevents it from coming in. Often impacted teeth are the third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth. When these teeth are impacted, the usual diagnosis will be wisdom teeth removal.
A third molar that has failed to break through the bony structure that covers it is referred to as a full bony impacted tooth. Removing these teeth is a little more complex and extensive than third molars that have erupted.
The patient is generally referred to an oral surgeon for the extraction. Since this is a common procedure for an oral surgeon, they have the equipment and experience so the patient arrives and the teeth are removed in the safest, most expedient and comfortable way possible.
Full bony impacted teeth most often will call for sleep sedation, as the surgery to remove the teeth is typically more involved.
The consequences of ignoring or delaying removal of a problematic tooth lie in the potential for infection forming around these teeth. Cysts or tumors can form that can impact surrounding healthy teeth.
Removing these teeth during adolescence or as a young adult is generally easier than waiting to see if problems will develop. Once the patient has reached total bone maturity, the removal is a little more complex. And the older the patient is, the potential for complications increases along with a lengthier healing period.
When the recommendation for wisdom teeth removal is delivered, it is usually best to follow this advice to prevent the complications that can occur. It is not just full bony impacted teeth that can present problems.
Teeth that are partially erupted present unique situations as well. Overcrowding can result in teeth being pushed out of their correct position. In addition, teeth that remain impacted are difficult to keep clean and create pockets where bacteria build. Dental decay and infection are potential consequences even if you are vigilant about brushing and flossing.
The dentist will monitor your dental health so if the recommendation is made to pursue the extraction of impacted teeth, sooner is better than later.