You may not realize that you have an impacted molar because it may not cause any symptoms. If you look in the mirror, however, you may notice that your molar has not fully erupted through your gum tissue, but other than that, signs and symptoms may be absent. Sometimes, however, impacted molars can cause severe throbbing tooth pain, gum inflammation, and jaw swelling on the affected side. If you have an impacted molar, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Here are some diagnostic and treatment interventions you can expect at the dental office for your impacted tooth.
Examination And Bitewing X-Ray
Your dentist will perform a comprehensive oral examination to assess your impacted molar as well as your other teeth, gums, and jawbone. Molar impactions have the potential to affect the nearby teeth, especially if the tooth is coming in sideways. This can push your other teeth out of place and lead to crowding. Your dentist will also take bitewing X-rays, and if warranted, a different type of X-ray called a panoramic X-ray. The bitewing X-ray is a very common dental procedure that involves the patient biting down on a piece of plastic before the X-ray is taken. The panoramic X-ray can show more detail and oral structures which the bitewing X-ray may not reveal.
Even though you may not have any signs or symptoms from your impacted molar, it may still be infected. When teeth are impacted deep into the gum tissue, food can get lodged in the loose flap of gum tissue which can cause bacterial overgrowth. If you have an infection, your dentist may notice a yellow or green drainage oozing from the bottom of the tooth and you may also notice a bad taste in your mouth when chewing.
If an infection is present, your dentist will thoroughly clean the area and prescribe an antimicrobial dental rinse. If the infection is extensive, oral antibiotics may be prescribed. If you develop severe pain as a result of your molar impaction, repeated infections, or if your other teeth are shifting, extraction may be the best treatment option. Your family dentist can extract your tooth, however, if it is severely impacted or if there is damage to the underlying bone, you may be referred to an oral surgeon.
If you have an impacted molar, see your dentist as soon as possible. Early treatment may help prevent the need for extraction and shifting of your other teeth. It is important to note, that if you have your molar extracted, you may need to get a dental implant to take the place of the missing tooth to help preserve your oral health and keep your bite from changing.
Contact a local dentist to learn more.