What Causes an Impacted Tooth?

Posted on October 21, 2021

illustration of an impacted tooth

Have you ever been told you have an “impacted tooth” by your dentist or orthodontist and wondered what it means? In the dental world, impacted means a tooth has not come in as expected due to lack of space or is coming in the wrong direction.

What Causes an Impacted Tooth?


There are different things that can cause a person to have an impacted tooth, however, genetics are often to blame! If a parent had a tooth that did not erupt as a child there, is a good chance their child will experience something similar.

Wisdom Teeth

It’s very common when people experience impacted wisdom teeth. Oftentimes there is just not enough space in the mouth for them to fully erupt!

Baby Teeth Not Wanting to Fall Out

It’s very common for children who are in the process of losing teeth to experience an impacted tooth. A tooth can get trapped in the gums if a baby tooth does not fall out in time, or if something is blocking the path of the permanent tooth as it’s coming in. In these cases, the tooth may never erupt at all or come in in the wrong place/position. This can often cause harm to the roots of the neighboring teeth and force them into unhealthy positions. Crowding is common in these instances which would require a visit to your orthodontist.

Fixing an Impacted Tooth

Fixing an impacted tooth can be relatively simple, however, there are times it can become fairly complicated. This all depends on the position of the impacted tooth and what direction it is trying to come in.

Extracting a Baby Tooth

One of the most common reasons a child’s tooth will not fully erupt is because the baby tooth below it will not fall out. One of the easiest solutions for your dental professional is to extract the baby tooth to allow space for the permanent tooth to come in. However, this doesn’t always mean the tooth will come in perfectly straight. Permanent teeth are typically bigger in size than baby teeth, so many people genetically do not have enough space in their mouths. This results in overcrowding.

Oral Surgery or Orthodontic Treatment

At Cardinal Orthodontics we do our best to make room in the mouth for all teeth! We love the look of a big, beautiful smile! However, not every situation is the same and some people are in need of oral surgery to fix the impacted tooth before starting braces or Invisalign.

Other scenarios may require a combination of oral surgery and orthodontic work, where we place a chain on the impacted tooth and guide it into the proper position.

Having an impacted tooth is actually more common than most people think. This is why it is so important to establish care with an orthodontist at an early age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids be seen by the age of 7. Most children will not start treatment this early, in fact, at Cardinal Orthodontics we prefer to wait until all baby teeth have been lost (if possible). Having an Orthodontist follow along with your child’s oral health as they are losing and erupting new teeth will ensure that any impacted teeth are caught early on.

To schedule a FREE consultation in our Ballwin or Rock Hill, give us a call at 314-962-6242. You can also schedule a video exam that can be done from the comfort of your own home! Click here to schedule.

Categories: Orthodontic Treatment
Tags: , , ,


Blog Tags