Impacted wisdom teeth result when a third molar is blocked from erupting into the mouth, they can be completely or partially impacted. 9 out of 10 people will have a at least one impacted or unerupted third molar, as a result of inadequate spacing in the mouth.
Many people ask, “Why should I get them out, they don’t bother me now?” That’s a great question, and there are typically three serious complications that can occur with retained wisdom teeth. Partially erupted teeth can develop a painful soft tissue infection around the tooth, called pericornitis. Pericornitis is one of the major reasons patients come in for wisdom tooth pain, and it should be treated as soon as possible to prevent a more serious facial infection that could become life threatening if left untreated. Completely impacted teeth can result in more serious problems, this occurs when the sac that surrounds the tooth begins to fill with fluid and enlarges to form a cyst. These cysts can hollow out the jaw and result in damage to adjacent teeth, jawbone and nerves. Wisdom teeth can also cause crowding and make teeth susceptible to cavities.
Research by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends removal of wisdom teeth when a patient is a young adult. This is because as the wisdom teeth develop, the roots become longer and the jaw bone becomes more dense, making removal more difficult and increasing the chance of complications such as nerve injury. The longer the wisdom teeth are left, the more likely complications will develop.