What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?


We have compiled this article on “What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?”. The reference links are at the bottom of the article.

[1]What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth — also called third molars — are the last set of teeth that grow in. They usually erupt (break through your gums) between the ages of 17 and 25. Sometimes, wisdom teeth erupt in alignment with your other teeth and don’t cause any problems. Other times, they become either partially or fully trapped in your gums or jawbone. This is referred to as impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of oral health problems, including cavities, gum disease, and infection.

Fully impacted wisdom teeth, partially impacted wisdom teeth and non-impacted wisdom teeth: What’s the difference?

Fully impacted wisdom teeth aren’t visible. They’re completely hidden underneath your gums. A partially impacted wisdom tooth is slightly visible because part of it has erupted. Non-impacted wisdom teeth have erupted and are completely visible above your gum line. It’s important to note that non-impacted wisdom teeth can still cause problems.

Soft Tissue Impaction Vs. Hard Tissue Impaction

You might hear your dentist use the terms “soft tissue impaction” and “hard tissue impaction.” Soft tissue impaction means your tooth has erupted from your jawbone but hasn’t broken through your gums. Hard tissue impaction means your tooth is still completely covered by your gums and jawbone.

What Are The Different Types Of Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Angular Impaction:

Angular impaction describes a tooth that is angled from 1-90 degrees. Teeth while a small angle may be closely monitored, while teeth that are closer to 90 degrees will likely be extracted to prevent damage to the surrounding teeth, bone, and gums. Depending on the direction of the angle, angular impaction can be further classified as mesial or distal. Mesial angular impaction is the most common type of impaction and it usually occurs as partial impaction. With mesial impaction, the tooth is angled towards the front of the mouth. Distal angular impactions, on the other hand, are the least common type of impaction. With distal impactions, the tooth is angled towards the back of the mouth.

Horizontal Impaction:

Horizontal impaction describes a tooth that is completely horizontal, or parallel, to the gum line. Most cases of horizontal impaction are fully impacted. Out of all the types of impaction, this is the most painful because the horizontal wisdom tooth is constantly applying force to the molar next to it. For this reason, horizontally impacted wisdom teeth will need to be extracted as soon as possible. Otherwise, the wisdom tooth will keep pushing against the surrounding molar. In addition to being extremely painful, this can also cause severe damage to the molar being pushed.

Vertical Impaction:

Vertical impaction describes a tooth that is vertical or almost vertical in position. Since this is the proper position for eruption, this type of impaction may not require extraction. However, in cases where the tooth is pressing into the tooth next to it, or if there is excess pressure being exerted on the tooth’s roots, extraction may be needed.

How Common Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth are extremely common. According to the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, 90% of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

[2]What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

The human mouth normally does not have room for 32 teeth, which includes the four wisdom teeth, so if wisdom teeth come through, they may cause crowding, infections, ear pain, and swelling.

Generally, people have four wisdom teeth. A person can have between none and four, and in rare cases, individuals may have more than four.

Having a small jaw or mouth with an abundance of teeth does not allow wisdom teeth to come through — they do not fully emerge into the mouth. This can also lead to crowding, infections, ear pain, and swelling.

Wisdom teeth can also grow in an atypical direction, coming out sideways, at an atypical angle, or only partially. Wisdom teeth that grow in different positions can cause pain and damage adjacent teeth. Even if no apparent damage occurs, the angle and position of wisdom teeth can make them susceptible to disease and bacteria buildup, which can lead to infection and decay.

In most cases, people do not need to remove their wisdom teeth as long as they practice good oral hygiene. However, they may need removal if a person or dentist notices changes in the mouth.


Thank you for reading this article, and check back frequently for other dental health articles. Should you have any questions, please contact Apple Tree Dental today!

Article compiled by Apple Tree Dental

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