Impacted teeth can be a serious problem for children. They're impossible to diagnose without dental x-rays, so many people don't even know that they have them until the pain has already begun. If you've learned that your child has or may have a tooth impaction, here's what you need to know about this condition.
What a Tooth Impaction Is
Tooth impaction is just a fancy term for a tooth being unable to move in because something is blocking its way. Sometimes the blockage is another tooth under the surface, but more often than not it's a tooth that's already emerged and is visible. Usually, the trigger for this condition is that your child's jaw is too small for all the teeth to move in safely. When this happens, teeth still hidden under the surface will have nowhere to go and can cause pain because they ram into the already-protruding tooth under the surface of the gums.
Solving the Problem
For a dental impaction like this, extracting the tooth that's blocking the way is usually the best course of action. The tooth that's under the surface needs to be able to move in, and extracting it instead would require a full dental surgery and could risk the well-being of the tooth that's already emerged anyway. So dentists typically remove the tooth that's already out to make space for the one that's still hidden.
Rest assured that your child will be thoroughly numbed and won't feel a thing during this procedure. And once the tooth is out of the way, the one under the surface should start to emerge from the gums and will take its place, ensuring that your child won't have a gap in their smile.
Preventing Further Tooth Impactions
If your dentist tells you that there are potentially other tooth impactions in the future, you might want to talk to an orthodontist about braces to help move those teeth before they emerge. However, ask your dentist if there's time for this: if the teeth are already on the verge of moving in, more extractions may be the only option.
Dental extractions may not be everyone's favorite thing, but they serve a valuable purpose in cases like these. If you know that your child is already hurting, don't waste any more time. Get to the dentist's office for a tooth extraction procedure, and say goodbye to the old tooth so that the new one can take its place.