Impacted Teeth In Children: What You Need To Know

It's not only wisdom teeth that can become impacted. An impacted tooth is any tooth that fails to develop in the expected position, within the expected timeframe. Having an impacted tooth can be very uncomfortable when the submerged tooth places pressure on the roots and nerve endings of the adjacent teeth. There's also the effect on eating and speech, not to mention the possible aesthetic effect of having a tooth that is either fully or partially impacted. What happens when your child's emerging permanent teeth have become impacted?

Sufficient Space

Adult teeth can only replace baby teeth when there is sufficient space on the dental arch for them to emerge. There are a number of different causes when this fails to happen. The position of the existing adjacent teeth might have left inadequate space for the permanent tooth to emerge. There can also be an excessive amount of gum tissue for the tooth to push through. Additionally, some people have a genetic predisposition for impacted teeth. So if you or your child's other parent were affected by impacted teeth in childhood, it might be that your children will experience the same issue.

Possible Signs

Signs that your child might be affected by an impacted tooth can vary. Since the process can cause discomfort, your child complaining about dental pain can indicate an impacted tooth. This often occurs during the period of tooth exfoliation, which is when their baby teeth are replaced by permanent adult teeth. This takes place when a child is approximately six to twelve years of age. Your family dentist can treat your child's impacted teeth, allowing them to develop properly. But what might your dentist actually need to do?

Dental Treatment

Impacted teeth in children can often be easily corrected by the extraction of the baby tooth. This effectively removes the barrier causing the impaction of the underlying adult tooth, clearing a path. An x-ray is often performed to ensure that the adult tooth is in fact ready to emerge. Impacted teeth can also occur when the dental plate is an insufficient size. Basically, the emerging adult teeth are too large to be comfortably accommodated in your child's mouth. In this case, a palatal expander can be utilized. This is a device that your child will wear for several months, during which time their dental plate is gently extended to permit the adult teeth to comfortably emerge. 

If you believe that your child's developing adult teeth are impacted, consult your dentist so that the necessary steps can be taken to allow your child's teeth to emerge properly. For more information about how a family dentist can treat impacted teeth, reach out to a local dental office.