Wisdom Teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. They come in between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the "Age of Wisdom."
What is an Impacted Tooth?
By definition, teeth that fail to emerge or fully break through the gum tissue are "impacted." This is a common problem associated with third molars, or wisdom teeth, which are the last teeth to develop and erupt into the mouth. But other teeth can also become impacted. When a tooth is unable to fully enter the mouth, it is "impacted." In general, impacted teeth are unable to break through the gums because there is not enough room. Nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
How serious are impacted wisdom teeth?
If left in the mouth, impacted wisdom teeth may damage neighboring teeth, or become infected. Because the area of the mouth where the wisdom teeth are is difficult to clean, it is a site that invites the bacteria that leads to gum disease. Furthermore oral bacteria may travel from your mouth through the bloodstream, where it may lead to possible systemic infections and illnesses that affect the heart, kidneys and other organs. Research has shown that once periodontal disease is established in the area of the wisdom teeth, the problem is persistent and progressive, but may improve following extraction of the teeth.