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What Oral Health Issues Can Arise if You Ignore Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

by Danielle Fletcher

When a wisdom tooth does not fully erupt from under the gums, either staying completely below or only emerging partially, it is referred to as impacted. This is rare with most teeth, but it can be quite common with the wisdom teeth, which usually come in between the end of a person's teenage years and their early twenties.

If your wisdom teeth are impacted, the issue will probably be painless, but your dentist might still recommend that you have them removed. It can seem rather excessive to go through wisdom tooth extraction surgery when you don't even feel any pain, but the truth is that impacted wisdom teeth can create a number of complications.

Here are a few negative effects that can arise as a result of impacted wisdom teeth.


Cysts are small sacs of tissue that fill with fluid, and they can be a serious consequence of impacted wisdom teeth. The main problem with cysts is that they place pressure on the bony tissue that surrounds your teeth, which can prevent their normal functioning and even weaken them to the extent that tissue and bone needs to be removed. The pressure against other teeth can cause further pain, as well as misalignment issues, and the cyst itself can become infected.

Decay and Infection

When a wisdom tooth becomes partially erupted, it can be very hard to clean and serve to trap food debris and plaque. This can lead to a gum infection known as pericoronitis. The surrounding gum tissue will become inflamed and infected. Even if an infection doesn't occur, the fact that plaque is able to grow on a wisdom tooth below the gum line means that it will be impossible to clean, which dramatically increases the risk of decay. That decay can spread to other teeth, and it's best to remove a wisdom tooth quickly if decay develops since damage to its structure will make extraction more difficult.

Crowded Mouth

Sometimes a wisdom tooth will erupt improperly; instead of coming through all the way, it will begin to push against the second molar. As well as potentially causing damage to the surface and root of that tooth, the pressure can gradually move the molar out of the alignment. As the second molar moves, it will, in its turn, place pressure on other surrounding teeth, so you can end up with misaligned teeth that require orthodontic intervention to straighten. In extreme cases, a poorly aligned wisdom tooth can place excess pressure on the jawbone or the nerves that surround it.