Skip to main content

Understanding impacted wisdom teeth

A young red-head holding their jaw from wisdom teeth pain

An impacted wisdom tooth is a common condition caused by not having enough space in your jawbone to fit your third row of molars. In this post, we’ll explain the different types of wisdom tooth impaction and cover the basics of the extraction procedure.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth are molars at the back of your mouth that are unable to fully erupt from the gum line because they are blocked by other teeth. Impacted teeth can sometimes partially erupt before getting stuck or be fully lodged below the gums.

The importance of extracting impacted wisdom teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause discomfort and can potentially lead to more serious issues such as damage to adjacent teeth or infection. A partially erupted tooth is especially prone to infection as food particles can become trapped below the gum flap and cleaning the tooth is difficult. While non-impacted wisdom teeth may be OK to leave in place in certain cases, your oral surgeon will recommend extraction once teeth have become impacted.

What is the procedure like

The extraction procedure will vary depending on the type and number of impacted teeth that need to be removed. For wisdom teeth that are easy to extract, the patient may only require local anesthetic. For many extractions sedation may be needed.

Impacted wisdom tooth oral surgery recovery

Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine procedure but still requires the patient to plan for proper recovery. Taking at least one full day off work is recommended, but giving yourself several days to relax comfortably at home is ideal. Prior to undergoing wisdom teeth extraction, your oral surgeon will provide full postop recovery instructions and answer all your questions to help you get back to normal as quickly as possible.