Impacted Wisdom Teeth

What is an impacted tooth?

Following the growth and appearance of the permanent adult teeth, the jaws are most times too small to accommodate the growth of the wisdom teeth. Hence, the impairment of wisdom teeth eruption due to inadequate space results in impacted wisdom teeth; this is indicated by the individuals’ inability to use them to chew or even clean them properly.

A diagram half mouth X-ray with teeth impaction and half digital graphic highlighting impacted teeth

Types Of Impactions

Determination of whether the wisdom teeth removal can be beneficial to you is made during the consultation. A Panorex (X-ray view of jaws, teeth, temporomandibular joint, and sinuses) will be taken to ascertain if any tooth is impacted, the location, if there’s enough room for it to grow out or remove the teeth.

  • Soft Tissue Impaction:

    The erupting tooth is not able to fully penetrate the overlying gum tissue. The gum cannot be easily retracted to allow adequate cleaning of the tooth.

  • Partial Bony Impaction: Here, there is enough space in the gum tissue to allow the wisdom tooth to erupt through it partially, but some part of it is stuck below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Hence, the tooth cannot function properly for chewing. Food can be trapped there as a result of improper cleaning, causing a focus for infection.
  • Complete Bony Impaction:

    The teeth remain wholly embedded within the jaw bone; there is NO space for the tooth to erupt. It requires complex surgical techniques for removal.

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A representation of a wisdom tooth impacted by soft tissueSoft Tissue
An example of a wisdom tooth with a partial bony impactionPartial Bony
An illustration of a wisdom tooth completely impacted by boneComplete Bony