What you should know about wisdom teeth that are impacted

impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the final teeth that emerge from an adult’s full set of teeth. These teeth don’t always emerge correctly. Dentists call them impacted wisdom teeth when this happens.

Adults have 32 teeth on average. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the final to emerge. They occur in the rear of the mouth, near the end of the upper and lower gums.

Wisdom teeth usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood, between the ages of 17 and 21. When they first arise, they normally do not cause any difficulties, until they become caught beneath the gums or in the jaw.

What are they?

impacted wisdom teeth

Because the human mouth does not have enough capacity for 32 teeth, including the four wisdom teeth, wisdom teeth can cause crowding, infections, ear ache, and swelling.

People usually have four wisdom teeth. Individuals might have anything from one to four, and in rare situations, more than four.

Wisdom teeth that do not fully emerge into the mouth due to a tiny jaw or mouth with an excess of teeth do not come through. Crowding, infections, ear ache, and edema can all result from this.

Wisdom teeth can also emerge in an unusual manner, such as sideways, at an unusual angle, or only partly. Wisdom teeth that are positioned incorrectly can cause pain and harm to neighboring teeth. Even if there is no visible damage, wisdom teeth’s angle and location leave them vulnerable to disease and bacteria accumulation, which can lead to infection and decay.

Most people do not need to have their wisdom teeth out if they maintain adequate dental hygiene. If a person or dentist sees alterations in the mouth, they may need to be removed.


A wisdom tooth that is impacted might create a variety of issues. These are some of them:

  • gum or jaw pain
  • damage to adjacent teeth
  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • infection
  • red, swollen gums
  • pressure
  • discomfort
  • cysts

Furthermore, impacted wisdom teeth might push against neighboring teeth, causing crowding. Straightening crooked teeth may necessitate orthodontic treatment.

A cyst can form when a tooth grows into a sac in the jawbone that fills with fluid. The cyst has the potential to harm the jawbone, as well as adjacent teeth and nerves.

A noncancerous tumor growth may occur in rare cases, necessitating surgery to remove tissue and bone.

If something is pressing against the second molar, which is adjacent to the wisdom teeth, it becomes more prone to infection.

It may be more susceptible to infections as a result of its position, which can lead to:

  • swollen gums, which may be redder than usual
  • swollen jaw
  • bleeding gums
  • bad breath
  • earache
  • headache
  • a strange taste in the mouth,
  • toothache

Cellulitis of the cheek, tongue, or throat is a more dangerous illness. Gingivitis, or gum disease, is another condition that occurs when plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums.

The solutions listed below may help to alleviate symptoms.

  • Pain medicines can help reduce pain, but they should be swallowed rather than left on the injured tooth.
  • Soreness and inflammation can be reduced by gargling with warm water and a teaspoon of salt several times a day.
  • Chlorhexidine, an antibacterial mouthwash, can aid in the prevention of illnesses.

If the pain does not go away, a person should seek medical help.

The teeth may be cleaned and antibiotics prescribed by a dentist, but if the disease recurs, the teeth may need to be removed.

Impacted wisdom teeth removal

Third molars that have been linked to disease should be removed, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS). In the event of difficulties, the AAOMS suggests that practitioners keep a close eye on wisdom teeth.

If a wisdom tooth causes pain or discomfort, or if it affects or threatens to destroy the neighbouring teeth or jaw bone, a dentist may prescribe extraction.

Practitioners cannot correctly identify which wisdom teeth may produce problems in the case of asymptomatic impacted wisdom teeth. The angle at which the tooth erupts and how it presses against neighboring teeth, on the other hand, might provide hints.

Is it necessary to remove all wisdom teeth?

When wisdom teeth are healthy, completely erupted, and in the proper locations, and a person can readily clean them, dentists frequently leave them alone.

Many dentists and oral surgeons in the United States, however, recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth to avoid infection, such as gum disease and tooth rot.

According to an AAOMS study, having a wisdom teeth is more likely to affect periodontal health than not having one.

If impacted wisdom teeth are preventing the development of the other teeth, a dentist should remove them.

People used to have their wisdom teeth removed regardless of whether or not they were creating difficulties. The question of whether to remove teeth that are not producing symptoms or leave them alone is currently being debated.

However, according to a research from 2021, just 28% of third molars were extracted, with 76.4 percent having acceptable causes.

In a 2017 research, over half of the people who were referred for surgery had no symptoms, while 36% were referred for preventative reasons.

What to Expect When You Visit the Dentist

If surgery is required, an oral surgeon will remove the wisdom tooth. An X-ray of the entire mouth will be taken by the dentist to check where the roots are located and how the tooth is growing.

The extraction might take place in a dentist’s office or as an outpatient procedure at a hospital. The simplicity of the procedure will be determined by the position of the tooth or teeth that must be extracted.

A healthcare practitioner will first assess a person’s allergies, current medical issues, and intolerances before to the procedure. They’ll also clean the operation room and the patient’s mouth.

To lessen the chance of infection, some doctors may additionally recommend the patient to take antibiotics before and after surgery.

To numb the tooth and the surrounding region, the dentist will administer a local anesthetic. The tooth and bone will next be exposed by making an incision in the gums. They will next split the tooth into parts with a dental drill to make it simpler to remove.

It’s important to unwind and avoid drinking and smoking for at least 24 hours to avoid bleeding complications.

Causes of impacted wisdom teeth

Because of a shortage of room in the mouth, wisdom teeth frequently get impacted or lodged in the jaw bone or gums.

Another typical cause is teeth that emerge at an odd angle. Genetics may have a role in the location of upper wisdom teeth, according to a 2018 research.

Depending on how the teeth grow, wisdom teeth that have been impacted can grow in a variety of ways:

  • Distoangular impaction: This means the wisdom tooth grows at an angle towards the back of the mouth.
  • Horizontal impaction: This means the wisdom tooth grows at a 90-degree angle and into the roots of the molar next to it.
  • Mesioangular impaction: This means the wisdom tooth grows at an angle towards the front of the mouth.
  • Vertical impaction: This refers to when the wisdom tooth does not break through the gum line.

Complications of surgery

Swelling, bleeding, bruising, and discomfort are frequent side effects of wisdom tooth extraction, although they are usually not significant.

However, issues such as the ones listed below may develop.

Dry socket

A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, occurs when a blood clot fails to develop adequately in the socket after the wisdom teeth is extracted. It can also happen if the clot breaks loose before the incision heals.

It affects up to 38% of people who have wisdom teeth removal.

This can result in excruciating agony. Patients who do not follow the dentist’s recommendations, smoke, rinse the region too soon after surgery, sucke on it, or touch it with their tongue are the most common causes.

Nerve damage

During the removal operation, nerves may be injured. Nerve damage can cause numbness or paralysis in the lip, tongue, or cheek, depending on the nerve involved.

This is usually just transitory, but if the damage is serious enough, it can become permanent.

Damage to adjacent teeth

Around one out of every 100 people may have long-term consequences from the surgery, including damage to neighbouring teeth. This, however, is highly dependent on the surgery’s scope.


The maxillary tuberosity, which is located directly beneath the top wisdom teeth, might be fractured if the wisdom tooth is extracted.

A lower jaw fracture, also known as a mandibular fracture, can happen during surgery or within four weeks after it.


A wisdom tooth that does not emerge correctly from the gums is referred to as an impacted wisdom tooth by dentists. Gum and jaw pain, swollen gums, and overall discomfort are all possible outcomes.

An people can take pain medicines, rinse their mouth with a saline solution, or use an antimicrobial mouthwash to assist alleviate these symptoms.

If a person’s wisdom teeth becomes impacted, he or she should see a dentist, who may recommend extraction. To avoid issues such as dry socket, an individual should follow all of the care recommendations provided by the dentist after surgery.


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