Risk of Not Removing an Impacted Wisdom Tooth

An impacted wisdom tooth is an abnormality in the position of a person’s third molar. The most common symptom of impacted wisdom teeth is pain, caused by pressure on the nerve that runs to this area from adjacent teeth. Suppose you don’t remove an impacted wisdom tooth. In that case, it could lead to more severe problems, including infections, cysts, and tumours developing around or below the gum line, bone resorption (the body breaking down) and jawbone deterioration.

An impacted wisdom tooth is usually the last tooth to come in. It can be difficult for your dentist to remove an impacted wisdom tooth because of where it comes from and how it grows. If you don’t remove an impacted wisdom tooth, some risks need to be taken into account. This blog post discusses those risks, what causes them, and how you should treat any symptoms that arise from not removing an impacted wisdom tooth.

What’s Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars positioned at the back of your mouth. They are the last set of teeth that develop and commonly grow at ages 17-25 or during late teens and early adolescence. Though wisdom teeth often grow into a big enough jaw to accommodate them, most people do not have adequate room for their wisdom teeth. That’s because we don’t typically have enough available space in our mouths. If you can relate to this, most likely, your wisdom teeth have become impacted. Impaction happens when your wisdom tooth still lies overlying your gums and doesn’t develop fully. There are a lot of reasons why your teeth come in incorrectly. One reason is that most people have only enough space for approximately 28 adult teeth.

Learn More: What Is Wisdom Teeth Removal: Everything You Need To Know

What Causes Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

The common cause of wisdom teeth becoming impacted is because of having to lack enough space in your jaw. Hence, developing them can be difficult and prone to dental health problems.

  • They grow in an angled direction and obstruct the adjacent tooth (second molar).
  • Grow at an angle towards the back of your mouth.
  • It grows at an angle to your other teeth as if the wisdom tooth is resting on its side within the jawbone.
  • Grow in a straight position up or down like other teeth, but do not yet push through your gums, staying trapped within the jawbone.

Many people have a wisdom tooth that grows at an angle, or it can be too large, causing problems with their other teeth. One of the possible reasons for impaction is if you had braces as a kid and lost some of those baby teeth beforehand, the space for your adult teeth may not have been adequately prepared. Moreover, orthodontic appliances such as retainers worn over a long period of time can also contribute to impaction by limiting growth by making enough room for wisdom teeth or due to malocclusion (misalignment) issues. It’s often necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth because there is not adequate space for them to grow in, and it can lead to severe damage once they come into contact with one another.

Learn More: Wisdom Tooth Infection: Risk, Symptoms and Treatment

What Happens if You Don’t Remove the Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

If your wisdom tooth is about to develop, your dentist will advise you to undergo a dental x-ray to check if it will position correctly. Your dentist will review your medical history and then decide if a wisdom tooth extraction is necessary.

Wisdom teeth, known in medical terms as third molars, can present a variety of problems. Obvious symptoms may not be immediately noticeable. However, these deficiencies are progressive with an otherwise silent cause. In some cases, you may not experience severe symptoms during the early stage of your wisdom tooth emergence until they become too painful. When the symptoms finally become apparent, serious damage has been done, and the risk of surgery may be needed to save your oral health.

Risk of complications associated with impacted wisdom teeth include pain, infection of the surrounding tissue, and difficulty chewing. The best way to prevent problems is to have impacted wisdom teeth removed before they cause complications.

Teeth Crowding and Alignment issues.

-If you leave your impacted wisdom teeth, they will continue to grow until they reach your other teeth, causing misalignment.

Cavities and tooth decay

-Your wisdom teeth are prone to cavities because of their location at the back of your mouth; they are often hard to clean. The pressure against them is also the reason for damage to the surface of your teeth, which leads to tooth decay and leads to cavities. This problem is possible to give you bad breath, which you need to observe as well.


-When your wisdom teeth partially erupt through your gums, a flap of soft tissue will start to grow over them. A buildup of food particles can stay within the flap of gum tissue, which can cause swelling of your gums, and it can be painful. If this happens, the risk of infection can be high.

Gum disease

-Your risk of getting gum disease in the back of your mouth increases if you keep your wisdom teeth, since they are hard to reach, and cleaning may become challenging. Other parts of your mouth become affected as well. But if you visit your dentist once or twice a year, these problems can be found and treated early.

Nerve damage

-The two nerves that are close to the impacted wisdom teeth are the lingual nerve, responsible for the sensation of your tongue. And the inferior alveolar nerve provides feeling to your lower lip and the skin covering the chin. Prolonged jaw pain and infection can lead to damage to nerves. 

Oral cyst

-Impacted teeth can lead to infection and damage in other parts of your mouth. The swollen part within your impacted teeth may form an abscess fluid sac and grow into a cyst, which could dramatically impact your oral health, such as damage to your jaw, nearby teeth, and bone.

Orthodontic treatment

-Since your wisdom teeth continue to grow, they will put pressure on the other teeth, and you will be more likely to develop crooked teeth. Thus, future dental issues may occur, and orthodontic treatment performed by oral surgeons will be necessary.

How Long Can You Leave an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?

Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that keep growing into the jawbone and won’t go away on their own. Unlike healthy wisdom teeth, impacted wisdom teeth may need removal, or if your case is more complex, wisdom teeth surgery may be recommended. Wisdom teeth removal has possible risks that can cause a more prolonged recovery time. Leaving them in can create long-term risks and make them more difficult to remove because they cause jaw pain or oral cysts, which have an even more complicated extraction process.

Hence, your dentist will more likely advise you to perform the removal of wisdom teeth or surgical removal as soon as possible.

Common Home Remedies for Impacted Wisdom Tooth Pain According to Experts

Let’s now discuss home remedies and other treatment options:

Numbing Gel

A dental numbing gel may help decrease the uncomfortable sensation in your gums and relieve your pain. It is available over-the-counter and online stores, and this product contains the active ingredient benzocaine, which serves as a pain reliever and is common in local anaesthesia.


-It is also an over-the-counter medication. Taking ibuprofen can minimize the inflammation in your gum tissue. Your dentist may advise you to take this medicine before extraction to heal your symptoms.

Ice Pack

-ice packs are known to be a good reliever for some body pain. The good news is that you can also use them as pain relief for the swelling of your gums. You can apply it for up to 15 minutes until the pain has subsided. It can also reduce inflammation.

Salt Water Rinse

-If you prefer a natural remedy available in your home, you can try to make a mouthwash-like substance from warm water. You need to add one to two tablespoons to a glass of warm water. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help to kill the bacteria.


-There are various ways you can use cloves (or clove oil) to relieve discomfort. A whole or cut up clove can be placed on the spot in your mouth that is causing the most irritation and then left there until it numbs a little bit. Alternatively, you can use some clove oil on a cotton ball instead. It is recommended that this home remedy be used when dealing with toothaches and impacted wisdom teeth due to its antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.


-It’s a bit surprising that onions have ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. You can try this at home and prepare to cut off a piece of onion and chew it on the area of pain. Keep doing this for a couple of minutes until the pain reduces.


-If you’re suffering from swollen gums, the tannic acid in tea bags can help. Place a cold tea bag directly over the area to reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Learn More: What Food Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Final Thoughts

Your molar teeth are more common to develop dental problems because of their position. Since cleaning them may be challenging.

The impacts of not removing an impacted wisdom tooth include severe damage to the surrounding bone structure or other teeth, irritation from inflammation caused by the sac, persistent pain, and severe bleeding in case of any fracture in the jawbone. It is recommended that you have wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible.

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Peel Dental Studio


Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.