​Impacted Teeth

Impacted teeth refer to the condition where a tooth becomes blocked or trapped (impacted) as it is emerging and pushing through the gum into your mouth (erupting). The tooth may be able to partially emerge so that the crown is visible (partially impacted), or it may be completely blocked (fully impacted).    

The most common teeth to become impacted are wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt between the ages of seventeen to twenty-one years. Wisdom teeth refer to when the third molars at the back of your mouth do not have enough room to develop or erupt (surface) normally. It is most common for people to have four wisdom teeth at the back of their mouth; two on the bottom and two on the top.

Although in some cases impacted wisdom teeth cause no immediate or obvious problems, in some cases they can cause much pain, crowding and damage to other teeth and other dental issues. This is because wisdom teeth are harder to clean and are therefore more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and other forms of dental problems than other teeth are.  

Impacted teeth that result in pain or other dental problems are commonly removed. Furthermore, your dentist or other oral surgeon may recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth that do not currently display any adverse symptoms (asymptomatic) in order to prevent future problems from developing.  

The second most commonly impacted tooth is the upper canine. This tooth may be impacted due to lack of space in your arch or it could also be hereditary. The upper canine is a very important tooth and the impacted canine can be brought in your arch with orthodontic (braces) treatment.​​

Impacted wisdom teeth do no always show symptoms or indications of a problem. However, in the case where impacted teeth become infected, causes damage to other teeth or other dental conditions, the signs and indications may become more obvious. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the gum in the back of your mouth 

  • Pain around the tooth/teeth, surrounding teeth, the gums or even in the ears

  • Tender or bleeding gums

  • Bad breath 

  •  A foul taste in the mouth 

  • Trouble opening your jaw 

  • Pain when you open your mouth

  • Pain or discomfort when biting or chewing

Pain may not always be constant; it can occur for several days at a time and then disappear. It may then start up again weeks or months later.​​

It is advised that you should pay regular visits to your dentist working with the Teeth and Skin Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital who will be able to detect problems before they become more serious. You should definitely visit your dentist if you experience any of the symptoms associated with impacted teeth, especially behind your last molar. The sooner your dentist is able to treat symptoms, the less extensive the treatment will be.​ ​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started. ​​

Your dentist will firstly ask questions about your symptoms and about your general dental health and medical history. They will then examine the affected area to make an initial judgment about whether you are suffering from impacted teeth or if you have another condition. He or she may then take x-rays if necessary to better examine your teeth and see if they are impacted and if there is damage to teeth or bones​.

Some erupting teeth, such as emerging wisdom, may not always cause problems or symptoms (asymptomatic teeth). However, some dentists suggest that these should be removed in order to prevent possible problems from arising in the future. It is important to discuss this with your dentist, as each case differs from each other. 

If the emergent teeth have become impacted, your dentist may suggest surgical removal (extraction). This option may be necessary if impacted teeth are causing infection, gum disease, decay or problems to neighbouring teeth.​ ​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​


The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.