Wisdom teeth, otherwise known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop. Sometimes these teeth emerge from the gum line and the jaw is large enough to allow room for them. However, most of the time, this is not the case. More often, one (or more) of these third molars fails to emerge in proper alignment or fully through the gum line and becomes entrapped or “impacted” between the jawbone and the gum tissue.
Impacted wisdom teeth can result in swelling, pain, and infection of the cheek and gum tissue surrounding it. In addition, impacted wisdom teeth can cause permanent damage to nearby teeth, gums, and bone and sometimes lead to the formation of cysts or tumors that can destroy sections of the jaw. Therefore, we recommend that people with impacted wisdom teeth have them surgically removed. It’s not just wisdom teeth that sometimes become impacted and need to be removed. Other teeth, such as the cuspids and the bicuspids (canines and premolars) can become impacted and can cause the same kinds of problems.