Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth or the third set of molars located at the back of the mouth, usually erupt very late in the mouth usually between the ages of 17-25. In many people it may emerge only partially or remain completely hidden under the gums or grow sideways. These are known as impacted wisdom teeth. They become impacted as they don’t have enough space in the jaw for growing in. It could also be because tooth grows at the wrong angle and bumps into the adjacent teeth. Impacted wisdom tooth may result in pain, damage to adjacent teeth and other dental problems. In some adults it may not show immediate and apparent effects but are more susceptible to decay as they are difficult to access and clean. They are removed in most cases even if they do not cause any problems in order to avoid future complications.


You may experience one or more of these symptoms in case your impacted wisdom tooth gets impacted or starts damaging the adjacent teeth.

  • Jaw Pain

  • Swelling in the gums

  • Tender/ red/ bleeding gums

  • Swelling in the jaw

  • Bad breath

  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth

  • Difficulty opening your mouth or biting


Wisdom teeth get impacted as they do not have enough room in the jaw to erupt normally. In some adults they erupt normally but in others they get trapped within the jaws. In some a part of the tooth may erupt such that the crown is partially visible. This is known as partially impacted. In others it never erupts out of the gums known as fully impacted. In either of these cases the tooth may grow

  • At an angle towards the back of the mouth (known as distal impaction)

  • At an angle towards the adjacent tooth (known as mesial impaction)

  • At right angle to the adjacent teeth (known as horizontal impaction)

  • Straight like other teeth but fail to erupt (known as vertical impaction)


It may cause complications in the mouth such as

  • Damage to the other teeth

  • High risk of tooth decay in case of partially impacted wisdom teeth

  • Partially erupted wisdom teeth are at high risk of a gum disease called pericoronitis that is highly painful.

  • Misalignment of bite by pushing on the adjacent teeth.

  • Abscess of the tooth or gum area


If you experience pain in the back teeth make sure you meet your dentist who can examine the area. Your dentist might consider the usage of dental x-rays to see where the impacted teeth are and how far it is impacted.


Tooth extraction is the usual solution for treating impacted tooth. This is performed in a dentist’s office as an out-patient procedure. The process involves

  1. Sedation – using either a local anesthesia that numbs the area or IV sedation that puts you to sleep throughout the process or general anesthesia that makes you lose consciousness.

  2. Tooth removal – the gums and bone may be cut and the tooth removed. The wound is closed with stitches that automatically dissolve in a few days time. Gauze pads may be stuffed to soak the extra blood in the sockets.

Your dentist would advise you on how to take care of your wounds such as using cold compresses and prescribe pain medication.

No treatment is required if the impacted tooth is causing no problems at all. For mild pain and discomfort over the counter pain medications or gargling with warm salt water may help. But in most cases, most dentists would suggest you to have it removed to avoid complications in future. For more details you can talk to one of our dentists who would provide you with the right suggestions for your impacted teeth.