Your last molars, called the third molars or wisdom teeth, typically begin to come in (erupt) during the late teen years or early twenties. When they don’t have room to grow in, or they’re trapped in your jaw because they are tilted or rotated, they are impacted.
An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain, infection and tooth damage
- As your wisdom tooth tries to erupt at an angle, it can push on the neighbouring tooth, causing pain and possibly damaging the tooth.
- Food gets trapped next to the wisdom tooth, making the area a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
- An infection may develop around the impacted tooth, and this infection can spread into the face and jaw.
- Your jaw may become painful and the surrounding gums may swell and become tender.
- A fluid-filled sac called a cyst may develop around the impacted tooth; this can destroy a great deal of jaw bone.
Early removal can prevent problems
You can avoid the pain and possible damaging effects of an impacted wisdom tooth by having it removed early, before its roots are fully developed. We can monitor the development of your wisdom teeth with x-rays, and remove them as soon as we determine they will likely cause difficulties.