Impacted Tooth



A tooth may be impacted due to overcrowding or because it is growing in the wrong direction or position.

Risk Factors

Impacted teeth are common. Things that may raise the risk are:

  • Genetics
  • Lack of orthodontic treatment



Some people with impacted teeth do not have symptoms. Those who do may have:

  • Redness and swelling of the gums around the impacted tooth
  • Pain or tenderness of the gums or jaw bone
  • Headaches
  • Problems opening the mouth
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath


The dentist will ask about symptoms and past dental health. A dental exam will be done.

X-rays will be done to confirm the diagnosis.



An impacted tooth that is not causing problems or affecting mouth alignment may not need treatment.

In others, the goal of treatment will be to remove the impacted tooth through dental surgery. This may be done using local anesthesia to numb the area or general anesthesia to put the person to sleep.


There are no current guidelines to prevent impacted teeth.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.