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What’s an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

What’s an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

impacted wisdom teeth

You know you need your wisdom teeth taken out so you’ve gone to your dentist to get a few x-rays done. During your appointment, they note that one or more of your wisdom teeth have become impacted. They don’t seem particularly concerned about it but the word “impacted” doesn’t sit with you well. You wonder if “impacted” means harder to remove. Will your surgery be more difficult for the surgeon because your third molars (aka wisdom teeth) are impacted? Will the healing period be longer? Even though your dentist isn’t worried, should you be?

Defining “Impacted”

Impacted wisdom teeth are, quite simply, wisdom teeth that have not erupted into the mouth. This typically happens when something is blocking the tooth or when the tooth is trying to erupt at a slanted angle instead of straight upwards. People who have very small mouths oftentimes don’t have enough room for their wisdom teeth to erupt so they become impacted. In other cases, it has to do with a difference between jaw size and tooth size.

Are impacted wisdom teeth dangerous?

In the U.S., most people get their wisdom teeth removed because of the risk associated with impacted third molars. Impacted wisdom teeth pose a serious health hazard as they can lead to infection. Because the mouth is so close to the brain, oral infections should not be taken lightly.

If your wisdom teeth don’t erupt (which is common), you need to schedule a wisdom teeth extraction. The surgery is quick, routine, and doesn’t come with a long healing period. Even if your wisdom teeth do not become impacted, your doctor will still most likely recommend extraction. This is because wisdom teeth are difficult to brush and floss (thanks to their location), which can lead to tooth decay.

Are impacted wisdom teeth surgeries harder to complete?

Impacted wisdom teeth surgeries can be more involved depending on the severity of the impaction (particularly the angle of the tooth). Sometimes, the doctor cannot remove an impacted tooth in one piece but, in other cases, they may have to remove the tooth in multiple pieces. While wisdom teeth surgeries are definitely routine for many dentists and oral surgeons, each surgery is unique and poses its own challenges. Make sure you are confident in your doctor’s experience in wisdom teeth removal before scheduling an appointment.

Don’t wait

We know getting your wisdom teeth removed isn’t something you necessarily want to undergo, but it’s a good idea — especially if you’re under twenty-five. Wisdom teeth extraction is the easiest and quickest way to avoid infection-related problems later on. Save yourself a major headache and schedule your wisdom-teeth extraction today.

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