Impacted wisdom teeth can be a serious threat to good dental health. Wisdom tooth impaction happens when the developing tooth doesn't come in straight.
An impacted wisdom tooth might never even erupt -- that is, break through the gums. If there is not enough room in the patient's mouth for the new molar, the tooth has no place to go, leading it to push against other teeth or tissues.
Impacted teeth can cause serious tooth pain, face or jaw pain, even headaches. They can lead to orthodontic problems, as other teeth move around to try to make room for them. Crooked teeth, in turn, leave a person more vulnerable to other dental problems.
Teeth impaction is classified either as a soft impaction (when the new tooth is still developing) or a bony impaction (when the developing tooth has begun to harden). Wisdom tooth removal is far easier when it is done earlier rather than later; bony impactions can sometimes require difficult wisdom tooth surgery.
During general dental check-ups, the dentist will monitor the development of a teen's wisdom teeth. If the teeth become impacted, the dentist will suggest wisdom tooth extraction. Patients in the most difficult situations will need to be referred to or to find a wisdom tooth dentist or oral surgeon who can perform their wisdom tooth surgery.
Only a dentist can determine the state of a patient's wisdom teeth. Have the teeth started to develop? Are they heading towards impaction? Are they already impacted? With the help of an x-ray, your wisdom teeth dentist will be able to answer those questions - and suggest a course of treatment.