Wisdom teeth are no different than other teeth except that they are the last to erupt, or grow, into the mouth. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are just as useful as any other tooth if they grow in properly and have healthy gum tissue around them. Often, however, problems develop when the teeth grow in, and removal may be required.
If wisdom teeth have erupted, the key to preserving them is maintaining good oral health by brushing twice a day and going to see a dentist regularly.
What is an impaction?
When wisdom teeth cannot erupt properly, they are referred to as “impacted.” Teeth that have not erupted are not necessarily impacted. It may be that it is still too early in a person’s dental development, and as time passes, the teeth may grow in properly. A dentist must examine a patient’s mouth and x-rays to determine whether the teeth are impacted or will grow in properly. Impacted teeth can result in infection, decay of adjacent teeth, gum disease or formation of a cyst or tumor. Many dentists recommend removal of impacted wisdom teeth to prevent potential problems.