Wisdom teeth are usually the last set of molars that develop. If there is enough space in the jaws, these teeth may emerge during your late teens to early twenties. In a small percentage of patients, wisdom teeth may erupt and have enough room to grow into a resonably normal position. For other patients, wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to erupt through the gum tissue. This eruption pattern may cause pain, swelling, or even infection.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause structural damage to the jaw and other teeth. Cysts and tumors have been associated with impacted wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth can also provide a place for bacteria to gather since these teeth are hard to reach and clean. These potential problems make it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth so that larger problems do not arise. Routine x-rays during a dental exam can reveal if you will need to have your wisdom teeth removed.