Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that emerge in the back of your mouth. This usually occurs during your late teens to early twenties. Some people’s wisdom teeth emerge through their gums and have plenty of room to grow naturally. For others, their wisdom teeth can cause problems, as there is not enough room when the teeth are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is referred to as “impacted,” it means that the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain because the tooth can come in unevenly, or even only partially emerge.
Not only can impacted wisdom teeth cause pain, but they can also cause structural damage to the jaw and other teeth. Since they are hard to reach and clean, impacted wisdom teeth can also provide a place for bacteria to fester. These potential problems and complications make it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth via tooth extraction so that larger problems do not arise. X-rays taken during routine dental exams can reveal if you will need to have your wisdom teeth removed in the near future.