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What Does It Mean When Your Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted?

What Does It Mean When Your Wisdom Teeth Are Impacted?


Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that are unable to fully erupt.

More Info: A tooth becomes impacted when there is not enough room in the mouth and its eruption is interrupted by bone, another tooth, or the gums. The most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth that generally erupt between the ages of 17-25.

Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Sometimes impacted wisdom teeth are asymptomatic, which means that don’t cause any problems.  For others they can experience a variety of symptoms including bad breath, redness and swelling of the gums, pain and bleeding of the gums, pain the jaw, and chronic headaches.

In the cases where a problem is evident or conditions exist that suggest a future problem may occur, surgical removal is the suggested treatment.  These smaller problems can lead to larger problems such as infection and malocclusion of the teeth.

Many dental professionals will suggest removing problematic wisdom teeth in the teens or early twenties before the roots have fully developed and the bone is still flexible (which begins to lose flexibility after age 30). Once the bone becomes more rigid, the procedure becomes increasingly more complicated.  Waiting until a problem arises could also become problematic in elderly people with other medical conditions.

How to Know If You Have Impacted Wisdom Teeth

You can’t rely on the symptoms to verify that you have impacted teeth, as many of the symptoms are signs of other health concerns.  A dental x-ray will verify definitively if you have teeth that are trapped beneath the gums.  An x-ray will also help your dental professional to determine if there are any risks associated with leaving the tooth as is such as decay or its position in relation to the roots of adjoining teeth.



American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
“Wisdom Teeth”

University of Maryland Medical Center
“Impacted tooth – All Information”


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