Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars which grow in the back of our gums. The only set of teeth to form outside of the womb, wisdom teeth usually emerge during our teenage years or early twenties between ages 17-25. Wisdom teeth can be exposed but generally are impacted in the gums, which cause pain and possible infections. Most dentists recommend surgically removing these molars. While completely natural, more often than not wisdom teeth prove to be more trouble than their worth.
Impacted wisdom teeth are misaligned molars that are unable or only partially able to erupt through the gum tissue. This is the main source of pain in wisdom teeth. Because they cannot grow straight, impacted teeth push pressure onto your gums, causing soreness of the mouth, jaw, head and ears. Partially erupted wisdom teeth may also pose a problem for bacterial infections, such as pericoronitis which develops in the exposed tissue of lower molars. Other complications resulting from wisdom teeth include defects in soft tissue, tooth decay, cysts and tumors.
One of the biggest threats of wisdom teeth is root resorption. Root resorption is the breaking down or decay of the root structure beneath the gums. Wisdom teeth can trigger root resorption in the second molars by forcing pressure on the teeth. In many cases this will lead to the resorption of entire teeth, and extraction will be required. Inflammation and bleeding of the gums can also result.
Removing wisdom teeth can prevent harmful dental issues. Have wisdom teeth caused you dental trouble?