What is it?

An impacted tooth is a tooth that does not break through the gum.

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Signs & symptoms

There may be no symptoms of a fully impacted tooth. Symptoms of a partially impacted tooth may include:
* Bad breath
* Difficulty opening the mouth (occasionally)
* Pain or tenderness of the gums or jaw bone
* Prolonged headache or jaw ache
* Redness and swelling of the gums around the impacted tooth
* Swollen lymph nodes of the neck (occasionally)
* Unpleasant taste when biting down on or near the area
* Visible gap where a tooth did not emerge


Your dentist will look for swollen tissue over the area where a tooth has not emerged, or has only partially emerged. The impacted tooth may be pressing on nearby teeth. The gums around the area may show signs of infection such as redness, drainage, and tenderness. As gums swell over impacted wisdom teeth and then drain and tighten, it may feel like the tooth came in and then went back down again.
Dental x-rays confirm the presence of one or more teeth that have not emerged.


No treatment may be needed if an impacted wisdom tooth is not causing any problems. If the impacted tooth is somewhere towards the front, braces may be recommended to help put the tooth into proper position.
Over-the-counter pain relievers may help if the impacted tooth causes discomfort. Warm saltwater (one-half teaspoon or 3 grams of salt in one cup or 240 milliliters of water) or over-the-counter mouthwashes may be soothing to the gums.
Removal of the tooth is the usual treatment for an impacted wisdom tooth. This is done in the dentist's office. Most often, it will be done by an oral surgeon. Antibiotics may be prescribed before the extraction if the tooth is infected.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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