Wisdom Teeth normally erupt between the ages of 18 to 24 years of age. They may become a problem for you as they grow and develop in each corner of your mouth, causing sudden and severe pain. When there is not enough room for your Wisdom Teeth, they may become impacted or partially trapped in the jawbone and gums.
The following complications may arise from impacted or partially erupted Wisdom Teeth:
- Tooth decay
- Saliva, bacteria and food particles can collect around an impacted wisdom tooth causing it, or an adjacent tooth to decay. It is very difficult to remove such decay. Pain and infection will usually follow.
- Gum infection leading to bad breath, pain, swelling and the inability to open your mouth fully. The infection can spread to involve the cheek and neck.
- Pressure pain. Pain may also come from the pressure of the erupting wisdom tooth against other teeth.
- Cyst formation. A cyst (fluid filled sac) can develop from the soft tissue around an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts cause bone destruction, jaw expansion and displacement or damage to nearby teeth.
- Prosthetic reasons. Patients who are to have dentures constructed should have any impacted wisdom teeth removed to prevent the possibility of the it erupting under the denture causing severe irritation.
Impacted wisdom teeth are almost certain to cause problems if left in place. This is particularly true of the lower wisdom teeth. Such problems may occur suddenly and often at the most inconvenient times e.g just before a VCE examination or a wedding!
It is recommended that impacted wisdom teeth be removed between the ages of 16 and 22 years whether they are causing problems or not. Surgery is technically easier and patients recover much more quickly when they are younger. Also in younger patients there is a reduced risk of complications and the healing process more rapid and efficient.