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Impacted Wisdom Teeth

13:32 Thu 02nd Jul 2020 |
This is a sponsored article provided by James Cummings. James is a business psychologist and serial entrepreneur, with over a decade working in finance, IT, marketing, and recruitment sectors. He has authored numerous books in the management space and is Founder and CEO of

Wisdom teeth are the third molars at the very back of the mouth, which often do not have enough space for natural growth or emergence. Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to come into the mouth (erupt). Most people have four wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth: two at the top, two at the bottom.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause dental complications such as discomfort, inflammation or other teeth becoming misaligned.

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth are a disorder in which the wisdom teeth cannot erupt into the mouth. It may be attributed to a solid obstacle, like most other existing teeth, or when a tooth is bent away from its normal vertical position.

Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Some people with impacted wisdom teeth will not experience any issues, while others may experience symptoms that range from mildly annoying to severely painful.

An impacted wisdom tooth could break through the gums, and only be partially observed. This is called a partial wisdom tooth impaction. Food may get trapped around and between a wisdom tooth that is partially impacted and other teeth and proper cleaning may be more difficult. For some, this can be very painful.

If there is an infection of the teeth, and other issues arise, you might have the following symptoms:

  • - Bad breath
  • - A bad taste in the mouth
  • - Bleeding gums
  • - Difficulty opening the mouth
  • - Jaw pain
  • - Swollen gums
  • - Swollen jaw and/or cheeks

Types of Wisdom Teeth Impactions

In dental terms, there are four types of wisdom teeth impactions including:

Mesial Impactions

Mesial Impactions are the most common type of wisdom teeth impactions. The tooth is partly erupted with a mesial impaction and pointed toward the front of the head. Hence, mesial impacts are often referred to as "angular impacts". Such form of impaction may or may not cause complications, and generally needs to be watched carefully before determining whether to extract the tooth or not.

Vertical Effect

The teeth have a comparatively natural orientation. Normally, this sort of impaction does not require removal of the tooth. The tooth is very close to achieving a natural alignment, with a high propensity of erupting and blending into the structure mouth without causing significant problems. If you need to remove a vertically impacted third molar, it will be due to the fact that it pushes up against the underside of the second molar or against the bones at the back of your mouth.

Vertically impacted teeth are sometimes difficult to remove, and may cause damage to bone areas and surrounding teeth, but such complications are rare.

Distal impact

Distal impaction is the least common type of impaction of the wisdom teeth. Given that the tip of the wisdom tooth bends into the back of the mouth, this is the reverse of mesial impaction. As with the mesial impaction, the tooth angle decides whether extraction is needed. A tooth which is ideally located at 0 degrees does not require extraction because it would erupt well.

One lying on its side at an angle of 90 degrees or nearly an angle of 90 degree would not properly break through the gum. A tooth so poorly positioned would probably eventually press against the bone too. In such cases the tooth must definitely be extracted.


Exactly as it sounds, a horizontal impaction is where the tooth is bent (horizontally), completely on its side. This is typically the strongest and most painful form of wisdom tooth impaction to have, and the tooth is often pressed against the molar next to it, entirely under the gum surface.

A lateral impaction includes the need for extensive x-rays and a skilled oral surgeon. The treatment also involves some jaw bone detachment, which is generally performed under general anaesthesia or IV sedation. Recovery periods can also be longer due to bone loss from the procedure.

Causes of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth (third molars) get affected because they require more room to come in. The wisdom teeth usually grow between the ages of 17 and 25. A few individuals have wisdom teeth that mature without complications, and fit behind the resulting molars without crowding the other teeth.

Most of the time, however, when third molars try to properly erupt the mouth becomes uncomfortably crowded. Those third molars become impacted in some way and need to be extracted.

Treatment of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If you feel you have or are developing an impacted tooth, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. They will examine you and take X-rays to determine whether the effects you are experiencing are caused by an impacted or an infected tooth. The different treatment options could be:

Waiting and monitoring: If your affected tooth causes no symptoms, your dentist might suggest a wait-and-see approach. With this approach, your dentist will monitor it regularly instead of surgically removing the tooth, so that they can see if any problems arise.

Eruption aids: Eruption aids may involve braces, caps, or baby or adult teeth compounds. If done on younger people, such approaches are more successful. If eruption cannot be completed, it may become necessary to remove the affected tooth and, in some cases, substitute it with a dental implant or bridge.

Although some may have no problem with their wisdom teeth, it is not unusual for these third molars to become affected or trapped because of an inability to properly erupt or align. Over time, the impacted wisdom tooth can become painful and ultimately lead to the other teeth becoming misaligned. Food can also easily get trapped around wisdom teeth, which contributes to gum disease and tooth decay.

In some cases, a wisdom tooth can be removed by your regular dentist, but in other cases, it may require an oral surgeon and specialist care to attend to the impacted teeth.

What are the Alternatives to Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Many people, as their wisdom teeth begin to develop, notice either there is not enough space in the mouth, or that it is becoming impacted. Wisdom tooth removal seems to be the only option. A coronectomy could be a safer, alternative option, but it's not a common procedure and most people don't know about it or what it entails.

Are Wisdom Teeth Difficult to Extract?

Everything depends on the tooth’s location and the type of impaction. After examining the x-rays, your dentist will tell you how easy or difficult each tooth will be to remove. Often, upper wisdom teeth are easier to remove than lower teeth which are more likely to be impacted.

Can a Partially Impacted Wisdom Tooth Correct Itself?

No, it can never correct itself because, due to lack of space in the dental arch, third molars get squashed, which is why they get partly or entirely impacted.

Is it Normal to have Some Pain 5 days After Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed?

This is normal. However, if you need to continue using painkillers by the fifth day, then you may need to call your dentist.

What are the Complications Caused by Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Swelling – swelling will be visible, especially if the bone is trimmed.

Dry socket – this is a problem that only occurs in some cases.

Pain is a given, hence painkillers will be administered.

Learn more from industry professionals about impacted wisdom teeth.

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