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Common issues caused by impacted wisdom teeth

When your third molars (wisdom teeth) don’t have enough room in your jaw to emerge, they can become stuck in place, either partially through or fully below the gumline and thus called “impacted”. This condition can lead to a number of oral health concerns. Here are the most common issues caused by impacted wisdom teeth.

Damage to adjacent teeth

The pressure of an impacted wisdom tooth can cause damage where it pushes against the second molar or indirect damage by moving other teeth out of place throughout the jaw.

Increased risk of infection

The area surrounding an impacted wisdom tooth is more susceptible to infection, especially in cases where the tooth is partially erupted and a loose gum tissue flap is present, as bacteria or other debris can get caught under the flap.

Heightened likelihood of decay

Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to keep clean due to their location in the back of the jaw and because food and bacteria are easily trapped between gum tissue and a partially erupted tooth. This causes plaque to build, which can lead to tooth decay.

Risk of pericoronitis

Pericoronitis is an inflammatory gum disease caused by the buildup of bacteria surrounding a partially erupted impacted wisdom tooth that has not been cleaned properly. Pericoronitis can cause discomfort in the affected area.

Cyst growth

Developing wisdom teeth are situated within a sac inside the jawbone. In the event of impaction, the sac can sometimes fill with fluid, which forms a cyst that can potentially damage the jawbone, teeth and nerves.