How an Orthodontist Can Help Impacted Teeth

How an Orthodontist Can Help Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth are those that fail to erupt and break through the gums. An impacted tooth remains stuck in gum tissue or bone for a variety of reasons. Genetics can play a role — a child may have an impacted tooth of their parent had impacted teeth.

What Do Teeth Become Impacted?

Teeth start to emerge through the gums during infancy. Permanent teeth push out and replace the temporary milk (or “baby”) teeth. If a tooth does not come all the way or doesn’t erupt at all, it is considered to be impacted.

When a tooth is impacted, symptoms may be unnoticeable or minor. In other instances, you or your child may experience signs such as these:

  • Swollen, bleeding, or red gums
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth
  • Pain when opening your mouth
  • Pain when chewing or biting


Impacted wisdom teeth are a common occurrence. If they fail to emerge, they may initially be painless and may not cause problems. However, it is possible that an impacted tooth pushes on the tooth beside it, which exerts forces on the next tooth, and so on. Eventually, this may result in a misaligned bite.

When children’s permanent teeth are coming in, the teeth can become impacted. A permanent tooth may be trapped in the gum tissue if a baby tooth does not fall when it should or if something blocks the space the permanent tooth must occupy. An impacted permanent tooth may not erupt at all, or if it does, it might appear in the wrong place.

How Does an Orthodontist Treat an Impacted Tooth?

Depending on the extent of the problem, fixing an impacted tooth can be relatively quick and simple, to complicated and time-consuming. Removing a temporary baby tooth may be all that is needed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt into the proper position. If the upper jaw is too narrow, however, it may be necessary to expand the jaw, and create more room for permanent teeth to come in. An orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA, can help with this problem.


Some orthodontic techniques can aid in the eruption of the impacted tooth into its correct position. These eruption aids may include braces or other orthodontic appliances. Orthodontic devices or appliances can work to control the path of eruption of the impacted tooth, which can help minimize damage to the tooth, and the surrounding teeth. These methods can be especially useful when performed on children and teens. Younger people have jawbones that are still growing and teeth that are still coming in, so manipulation with orthodontic appliances may be easier. If eruption can’t be achieved, the impacted tooth may need to be surgically removed. If an oral surgeon is necessary for this procedure, your orthodontist can provide a referral. 

If you or a loved one has impacted teeth or you suspect that impacted teeth are present, visiting an orthodontist can help. Call an orthodontist in your local area to find out how they can help with your unique situation.

Thanks to John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into how an orthodontist can help correct impacted teeth. 

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