Wisdom Teeth are the final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. These teeth can add to your ability to chew when they are properly aligned. However, if they develop misaligned they should be removed.
These teeth are called wisdom teeth because they appear at a mature age. Wisdom Teeth typically appear between the ages of 17 and 21 years of age. When wisdom teeth or molars develop misaligned they can be positioned horizontally, slanting toward or away from the second molars or skewed inward toward the mouth or outward.
Molars can also be impacted, meaning that they never erupt or only partially erupt through the gums. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to pain, swelling, and jaw stiffness. A partially impacted wisdom tooth can lead to more serious complications including bacterial infections, an increased chance for tooth decay, gum disease, and general illness. In Addition, if left untreated impacted wisdom teeth can cause damage to neighboring teeth and develop cysts or even tumors.
Your dentist can detect the alignment of your wisdom teeth early with an X-ray. You should have an X-ray periodically to stay on top of changes in the alignment of the molars. If the early misalignment is detected your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend extracting the tooth to avoid complications that may arise from its eruption through the gums.