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Impacted Wisdom Tooth

The average person develops and grows a total of 32 permanent adult teeth. However, in many instances, the human jaw is too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth found at back of the mouth, behind the molars. When this is the case, inadequate space can prevent the wisdom teeth from erupting through into proper position, resulting in what is called an impacted tooth (singular) or teeth (more than one). Impacted teeth can result in pain, and an inability to chew and perform adequate dental hygiene, the latter of which can compound problems.

  • Soft Tissue Impaction: In this case, there is not enough room to allow the gum tissue to retract for adequate cleaning (and use) of the tooth.
  • Partial Bony Impaction: There is enough space for the wisdom tooth to partially erupt. However, the eruption is not enough to allow the tooth to perform necessary functions (chewing, etc.) and the patient will not be able to brush or floss the area properly.
  • Complete Bony Impaction: There is no space for the wisdom tooth to erupt. In this instance, the tooth remains embedded in the jaw bone. If partially visible, it still requires complex surgery for removal, especially if the impacted tooth rests in an unusual position, making it more difficult to remove. This situation often arises when the shape or size of a patient’s jaw bone and/or other facial structure makes removal significantly more complicated.
  • What Are the Different Types of Wisdom Tooth Impactions?

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