Overview

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the very back of your mouth. These teeth typically come in during the late teen years or early adulthood.

If a wisdom tooth gets stuck under your gum or doesn’t have enough room to break through the gum, it’s considered “impacted.” Impacted wisdom teeth are more prone to disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems.

 

What are the symptoms?

Some people with impacted wisdom teeth won’t notice any problems at all, while others will have obvious symptoms.

An impacted wisdom tooth might break through the gums, and part of the gums can be seen. This is called a partially impacted wisdom tooth.

A partially impacted wisdom tooth may cause food to become trapped and can make cleaning the tooth more difficult. For some people, a partially impacted tooth is very painful.

If the tooth becomes infected or causes other issues, you may have symptoms such as:

  • pain or swelling around the jaw
  • red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • bad breath
  • an unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • problems opening your mouth

In other cases, the affected tooth may never break through the gums. This is known as a fully impacted wisdom tooth.

What causes an impacted wisdom tooth?

Generally, wisdom teeth become impacted because your jaw doesn’t have enough space for the teeth. Sometimes, the tooth grows in at the wrong angle, which can cause it to become impacted.

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