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Wisdom teeth, which are also known as the third molars, are the last permanent teeth to develop in the oral cavity as well as the final ones to come into place. However, as is often the case, many wisdom teeth do not have sufficient room to erupt, are not developing properly, or are causing issues for the adjacent teeth and the surrounding tissues. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons frequently see patients with impacted or problematic wisdom teeth for an evaluation or extractions as indicated.
A wisdom tooth is considered impacted when it is submerged under gum tissue or bone and unable to erupt into position. Based on the type and amount of overlying tissue, impactions are classified in a few different ways. Soft tissue impactions occur when a wisdom tooth remains covered by gum tissue. If a wisdom tooth remains completely, or partially obstructed by bone, it's known as a bony impaction.
Impacted wisdom teeth can potentially cause many problems and may need to be removed when they are the source of:
Although the extraction of wisdom teeth may be recommended for older patients, the early removal of problematic or potentially problematic wisdom teeth in young adults is often the case. Among the many reasons for this approach to care is that extractions at this stage of life are simpler, and patients experience a shorter recovery time with fewer complications.
Whatever the case may be, patients of all ages can rely on the expertise of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for the evaluation and treatment recommendations for developing, impacted, or erupted wisdom teeth.