The dentist may notice an impacted wisdom tooth during a checkup.
The human mouth normally does not have room for 32 teeth, which includes the four wisdom teeth, so if wisdom teeth do come through, they may cause crowding, infections, ear pain, and swelling.
Wisdom teeth that do not have enough room to grow properly are known as impacted wisdom teeth. They do not fully erupt into the mouth.
As a result, they can grow in the wrong direction, coming out sideways, at a wrong angle, or only partially. This can affect nearby teeth.
There may be pain, and the other teeth may become damaged.
Even if no apparent damage occurs, the teeth can become more susceptible to disease. If a tooth remains just under the gum, known as tissue impacted, bacteria can collect. This can lead to infection.
For many people, wisdom teeth will eventually grow and settle down, and they will not need to be extracted as long as the person practices good oral hygiene.
However, wisdom teeth may need removing if:
- There is pain, swelling, pressure, and discomfort
- If it is clear that the teeth will not have room to grow or that they will cause damage to nearby teeth
- The teeth are partially erupted and decayed, which makes them harder to reach for cleaning