Wisdom teeth are those third molars way at the back of the mouth that don’t come in until
your latter teenage years, sometimes not even until your 20s! While some people won’t
experience problems with their wisdom teeth, many people find that they have impacted
What exactly is an impacted wisdom tooth? The following are all characteristics of impacted
wisdom teeth as well as how they’re typically treated.
Unable to Erupt Into the Mouth
Fully impacted wisdom teeth are entirely trapped in your jaw and are unable to come through
the gum tissue into the oral cavity. They may be blocked by the surrounding teeth or they may
be coming in at a bizarre angle—such as tilted or sideways.
These teeth are usually out of alignment which is what’s preventing them from coming in
properly. You may also have a wisdom tooth that’s partially impacted, which means it’s not
quite as stuck as fully impacted wisdom teeth, but stuck enough to cause adverse symptoms.
Caught Between the Jaw and Gum Tissue
Wisdom teeth that partially erupt into the mouth but don’t quite make it through the gum
tissue are often called soft-tissue impacted wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth that are impacted in your gum tissue means they can’t fully erupt into the
mouth, perhaps because they don’t have enough room or just because that’s as far as they’re
willing to go.
This type of impacted wisdom tooth is likely to cause irritation or even infection in the
surrounding gum tissue. This is because they are difficult to properly clean being so far back in
the mouth and stuck in the gum tissue, which leaves more room for bacteria and food particles
to get trapped.
Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause many problems in the mouth. If they aren’t able to erupt
through the gumline, they can cause swelling, infection, and pain.
You should never ignore impacted wisdom teeth on account of the problems they can cause. In
addition to causing pain, the longer you allow impacted wisdom teeth to develop, the more
likely they are to cause an infection or alignment problems with your neighboring teeth.
What Does the Treatment Entail?
Treatment for impacted wisdom teeth usually involves extraction. Although impacted wisdom
teeth can be trickier to remove than wisdom teeth that have erupted through the gumline,
these types of extractions are commonplace and most dentists have experience with them.
Getting your impacted wisdom teeth extracted before they cause symptoms can help reduce
the chances you’ll experience any future problems. Since impacted teeth can also ruin
orthodontic work by pushing against your other teeth, getting them evaluated now can help
keep your teeth in place.
If your wisdom teeth haven’t made an appearance yet, schedule an appointment with your
dentist. A simple x-ray can tell if your wisdom teeth are on their way in and whether or not
they’re impacted. Never let an impacted wisdom tooth go because the sooner you get
treatment, the less your smile will be disrupted by these molars!