What’s up with Impacted Molars?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the very back of your mouth that typically come in sometime between the ages of 17 and 21. Many people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed in their teen age years or early 20’s because of the potential crowding, shifting and bite problems often caused when wisdom teeth finally erupt. You may be one of the lucky few that have the space in their mouth to have un-problematic wisdom teeth. In fact, for many wisdom teeth are unable to grow normally. When teeth are prevented from breaking through the gum or are only partially able to erupt, they are considered impacted. When it comes to impacted molars it is primarily a space issue, but other underlying problems also exist.

When the jaw doesn’t have enough space for all of the teeth, or when the teeth come in at an odd angle there can be a handful of problems. Angled teeth that are not removed can bore a hole in to the other teeth. Tooth angulations are known to grow a number of different ways. Impacted teeth can trap food, plaque and other debris on the gum line and soft tissue surrounding the tooth. Pain and infection are often a result of impacted molars and increase changes for decay and cavities. Wisdom teeth often times move, shift and crowd existing neighboring teeth which is especially problematic if you’ve had braces.  Teeth that are next to impacted molars are predisposed to periodontal disease and gingival inflammation.

If your wisdom teeth are impacted, it is often recommended to have the molars removed by a dentist or oral surgeon. Even if your wisdom teeth are not impacted, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend that you have them removed.