How Do I Know If I Have an Impacted Tooth?

ID-100104452An impacted tooth is a tooth that hasn’t fully emerged from your gums or jaw. In some cases, a tooth may grow at the wrong angle. This can affect the alignment of surrounding teeth and cause other complications.

District of Columbia and surrounding area impacted tooth patients should seek treatment as soon as they believe they have a problem. Early detection gives you more options for addressing the issue, reduces discomfort, and averts other issues related to impaction. Here are three ways to find out if you need care.

  1. Visit Your Dentist Regularly

A general dentist who is knowledgeable and thorough will examine how your teeth are growing and recognize if there is a problem. He or she should see that one of your teeth is not visible above the gums or that a tooth has only partially emerged.

Just because a tooth isn’t visible above the gums doesn’t mean that there’s an impaction, however. In the case of third molars—wisdom teeth—you may not actually have developed all four of the teeth a person typically has. Your dentist should check these areas of your mouth regularly starting around age 16 or 17.

The dentist should take X-rays to confirm the bone structure underlying your gums. This will not only tell him or her if a tooth is impacted, but it will also reveal how the growth of that tooth can affect the rest of your smile.

  1. Know the Symptoms of an Impacted Tooth

Pay close attention if you experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Pain or sensitivity around your gums and jaw.
  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth when you bite down.
  • Swollen gums.
  • Reoccurring headaches or jaw aches.
  • Trouble opening your mouth.

If you delay treatment for these symptoms, you might encourage secondary signs of an impacted tooth. These include cysts in the gum tissue, tooth decay, infection, and misaligned teeth. Obviously, you don’t want to experience this discomfort, so it’s better to take action sooner.

  1. See Dr. Virginia E. Lee for Impacted Tooth Cases

Our practice, Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center, regularly receives referrals from general dental practitioners. As a top oral surgeon and staff in DC area, we conduct examinations and perform procedures on a daily basis. Our expertise in impacted tooth cases, including wisdom teeth, means that we can readily identify the signs and confirm whether you need treatment.

Extracting an impacted tooth or several teeth is a very common process. As a patient of Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center, we will prioritize your comfort and care at every step in the process. Through treatment, we can put you back on the path to good oral health.

If you think you have an impacted tooth, call Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center at (202) 296-6600.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

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