Impacted Wisdom Teeth

What is an impacted tooth?

Although most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting they are called impacted wisdom teeth

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

Types Of Impactions

Impacted wisdome teeth are “graded” – Grade 1 through Grade 5 depending on their degree of depth in the jaw. 

  • Grade 2 – Soft Tissue Impaction: There is not enough room to allow the gum tissue to retract for adequate cleaning of the tooth.
  • Grade 3 – Partial Bony Impaction: There is enough space to allow the wisdom tooth to partially erupt. However, the tooth cannot function properly in the chewing process, and its position creates cleaning problems, among others.
  • Grade 4 – Complete Bony Impaction: There is NO space for the tooth to erupt. It remains embedded in the jaw bone. A small amount of the tooth crown may be visable. The impacted wisdom tooth may also be in an unusual position and difficult to remove. This situation can also arise when the shape or size of the jaw bone and other facial structures make removal of this tooth significantly more complex.
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