Impacted wisdom teeth problems are listed and explained by Lutherville oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Leonard Spector.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. The wisdom teeth that are healthy or positioned correctly with other teeth and are able to be kept clean are the ones that may not need to be removed. Many times, however, the wisdom teeth – the third molars in the very back of the mouth – do not have room to grow properly and they can cause problems. These teeth can grow at various angles to the jaw, sometimes horizontally.
Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
- Partially erupted wisdom teeth tend to collect food. It is difficult for the patient to get access to these areas and keep them clean and the result can be gum disease and tooth decay.
- Possibility of repeated infections which cause pain.
- Formation of cysts, which are fluid-filled sacks around the impacted teeth.
- Impacted teeth can encroach on the mandibular canal, which is the nerve that gives you feeling to your lower lip, chin, and tongue on both sides of your lower jaw.
- Impacted teeth can encroach on or damage adjacent teeth and cause other teeth to be pushed out of alignment. Sometimes impacted wisdom teeth are removed in advance of orthodontic treatment so that the orthodontist can move other teeth and teeth roots into proper alignment.
- Tumors can form around these teeth.
Best Age to Remove Impacted Wisdom Teeth
I recommend that patients bring in children who may have impacted wisdom teeth for an evaluation. I have removed wisdom teeth in the office for patients as young as 12 or 13 years old when the lower wisdom teeth are preventing the second molar teeth from erupting, but typically people have wisdom teeth removed sometime during their high school years.
Patients of any age can have their wisdom teeth removed if an examination reveals a need for the procedure.
Dr. Leonard Spector