Impacted teeth usually occur because of crowding or lack of space in the bone. Third molars (wisdom teeth), particularly the lowers, are the last to erupt and are more likely to be impacted. Because of crowding and difficulty with cleaning, decay in adjacent teeth, as well as gum disease, often occurs. Surgical removal of impacted teeth is often recommended, but may be optional unless problems develop.
Due to the complex and uncertain nature of third molar-related disease and complications, we at Dr. Karol`s Dental Clinic recommend that everyone have a comprehensive third molar evaluation between ages 18 and 21. The purpose of this visit is to document third molar presence, position and development, chart baseline disease, and discuss treatment options, which may include early removal or longer term management. If management is chosen over surgical removal, the oral surgeon will discuss appropriate hygienic measures, signs and symptoms of disease, and risk factors. Patients may choose "early removal" or they may choose management, which includes regular visits every 2-5 years with their oral surgeon.