Why Are My Wisdom Teeth Growing Sideways? Exploring the Causes and Solutions

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars that typically emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood. While some people’s wisdom teeth come in correctly and align with their other teeth, others experience a common dental issue – wisdom teeth growing sideways. When wisdom teeth grow sideways or at an angle, they can lead to various oral health problems and discomfort. In this article, we delve into the causes behind sideways wisdom teeth and explore potential solutions for managing this dental concern.

Causes of Sideways Wisdom Teeth:

Sideways wisdom teeth, also called impacted wisdom teeth, occur when there is insufficient space in the jaw for the teeth to emerge properly. Several factors contribute to this condition:

1. Lack of Space: The human jaw has evolved over time, and with changes in diet and oral health, there is often not enough room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to erupt fully. As a result, they may grow in a sideways or angled position.

2. Late Eruption: Wisdom teeth typically erupt in the late teens or early twenties when most of the other permanent teeth are already in place. By this time, the jaw may have completed its growth, leaving limited space for the wisdom teeth.

3. Tooth Alignment: The alignment of neighboring teeth can also impact the growth of wisdom teeth. If the adjacent teeth are already crowded or misaligned, they may block the path for the wisdom teeth to emerge correctly.

4. Jaw Angle: The angle at which the wisdom teeth form can influence their direction of growth. Some wisdom teeth have a natural inclination to grow at an angle.

Do horizontally Impacted Wisdom teeth Need to be Removed?

Yes, horizontally impacted wisdom teeth generally need to be removed. Horizontally impacted wisdom teeth grow sideways within the jawbone instead of erupting vertically like normal teeth. Due to their improper position, horizontally impacted wisdom teeth can lead to various dental problems and complications.

Potential Issues with Sideways Wisdom Teeth:

Some of the common issues associated with horizontally impacted wisdom teeth include:

  1. Pain and Discomfort: Horizontally impacted wisdom teeth can cause significant pain and discomfort as they put pressure on the surrounding structures, including the jawbone and adjacent teeth.
  2. Risk of Infection: The position of horizontally impacted wisdom teeth makes them difficult to clean properly, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and bacterial infection around the tooth.
  3. Cyst Formation: In some cases, a sac of fluid called a cyst can form around a horizontally impacted wisdom tooth, leading to potential damage to the jawbone and surrounding structures.
  4. Tooth Decay: Due to their position and difficulty in cleaning, horizontally impacted wisdom teeth are prone to decay. The presence of decayed tissue can also increase the risk of infection.
  5. Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Horizontally impacted wisdom teeth may push against neighboring teeth, causing enamel erosion, cavities, and damage to the roots of adjacent teeth.
  6. Crowding: Horizontally impacted wisdom teeth can exert pressure on adjacent teeth, leading to crowding and misalignment in the rest of the mouth.
  7. Gum Problems: The gum tissue surrounding a horizontally impacted wisdom tooth is susceptible to inflammation, redness, and tenderness, which can result in a condition called pericoronitis.

Due to these potential dental problems and the likelihood of complications, dentists or oral surgeons often recommend the removal of horizontally impacted wisdom teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common and safe procedure that can prevent further oral health issues and protect the overall well-being of the patient. If you suspect you have horizontally impacted wisdom teeth or are experiencing pain and discomfort in the back of your mouth, it is essential to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment recommendation. Early intervention can help avoid potential complications and promote better oral health.

Managing Sideways Wisdom Teeth:

When wisdom teeth grow sideways and become problematic, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend one of the following solutions:

1. Wisdom Tooth Extraction: If the sideways wisdom teeth are causing pain, impaction, or other dental issues, the most common solution is extraction. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common and safe procedure to remove the impacted teeth.

2. Monitoring and Observation: In some cases, if the impacted wisdom teeth are not causing immediate issues, your dentist may choose to monitor them periodically. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can help assess their development and identify any potential problems.

3. Early Removal: In certain situations, if a dentist foresees future issues with the eruption of wisdom teeth, they may recommend early removal before the roots fully develop, which can simplify the extraction process.

4. Orthodontic Treatment: In cases where sideways wisdom teeth are causing significant crowding or misalignment, orthodontic treatment, such as braces or clear aligners, may be recommended to align the rest of the teeth and create space for the impacted wisdom teeth.


Sideways wisdom teeth are a common dental issue that can lead to discomfort and oral health problems if left untreated. Regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor the development of wisdom teeth and address any potential issues early on. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, or if you suspect that your wisdom teeth are growing sideways, consult with your dentist or oral surgeon. They can assess your specific case, provide appropriate recommendations, and develop a personalized treatment plan to ensure the best possible oral health and prevent future complications. Early intervention and proactive dental care are key to managing sideways wisdom teeth effectively and preserving your smile’s health and aesthetics for years to come.

Are Horizontal Wisdom Teeth hard to remove?

Horizontal wisdom teeth, also known as transverse impacted wisdom teeth, can be more challenging to remove compared to vertical or angled impacted wisdom teeth. The difficulty of removal depends on various factors, such as the tooth’s position, the depth of impaction, and the root development. In many cases, horizontal wisdom teeth are deeply embedded in the jawbone or positioned close to the adjacent teeth, nerves, or sinuses, making the extraction more complex.
Removing horizontal wisdom teeth often requires specialized surgical techniques and the expertise of an oral surgeon. During the procedure, the oral surgeon carefully accesses the impacted tooth, may section it into smaller pieces if necessary, and delicately maneuvers around the surrounding structures to avoid any damage. While horizontal wisdom teeth can be more challenging to extract, advancements in dental technology and surgical techniques have made the process safer and more manageable.

How do you Know if you have a wisdom tooth infection ?

A wisdom tooth infection, also known as pericoronitis, can occur when bacteria get trapped beneath the gum flap covering a partially erupted wisdom tooth. Some common signs and symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection include:
Pain and Discomfort: You may experience pain or tenderness around the affected wisdom tooth, which can radiate to the jaw and ear on the same side.
Swelling: Swelling of the gum tissue around the impacted wisdom tooth is common in cases of infection.
Redness and Irritation: The gum tissue near the affected area may appear red and inflamed.
Bad Taste or Odor: An unpleasant taste or odor in the mouth can occur due to the presence of infection.
Difficulty Opening Mouth: In severe cases, pericoronitis can cause difficulty in opening the mouth or discomfort while chewing.
If you suspect you have a wisdom tooth infection, it’s crucial to seek dental evaluation and treatment promptly. An infected wisdom tooth can lead to complications and should be addressed by a dentist or oral surgeon to prevent further issues.

Is it Normal for Wisdom Teeth to Grow Sideways?

No, it is not normal for wisdom teeth to grow sideways. Wisdom teeth should ideally emerge vertically, in alignment with the other teeth. However, due to the lack of space in the jaw or late eruption, wisdom teeth may become impacted and grow at an angle, horizontally, or in other positions. Sideways growth of wisdom teeth is known as transverse impaction and can lead to various dental issues and discomfort.

Is Horizontal Wisdom teeth Good or bad?

Horizontal wisdom teeth are considered bad because their improper position can cause several dental problems. They can lead to impaction, crowding of adjacent teeth, damage to neighboring teeth or roots, and an increased risk of infections and cysts. In some cases, horizontal wisdom teeth can cause severe pain and swelling due to pressure on the surrounding tissues. As a result, impacted wisdom teeth, including those growing horizontally, often require extraction to avoid complications and protect oral health.

What happens if your wisdom Teeth Grow in Crooked?

When wisdom teeth grow in crooked, they can cause a range of dental issues, such as:
Crowding: Crooked wisdom teeth can exert pressure on adjacent teeth, leading to crowding and misalignment in the rest of the mouth.
Impaction: Crooked wisdom teeth are more likely to become impacted, causing pain, swelling, and an increased risk of infection.
Damage to Adjacent Teeth: Crooked wisdom teeth may push against neighboring teeth, causing enamel erosion, cavities, and damage to their root structure.
Difficulty Cleaning: Crooked wisdom teeth can be challenging to clean properly, increasing the risk of plaque buildup and gum disease.
Due to these potential problems, dentists often recommend removing crooked wisdom teeth to prevent complications and protect overall oral health.

Will a rotten Wisdom tooth fall out?

A rotten wisdom tooth will not necessarily fall out on its own. When a wisdom tooth becomes severely decayed or infected, the structural integrity of the tooth is compromised, and it may become loose. However, even if the tooth becomes loose, it may not fall out naturally, especially if it remains partially or fully impacted beneath the gum line.
Rotten wisdom teeth are typically best addressed through dental intervention. A dentist or oral surgeon may recommend extracting the rotten wisdom tooth to prevent the spread of infection and alleviate pain or discomfort. Dental extraction is a common and safe procedure that removes the compromised tooth to protect overall oral health.

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