Dentists and oral surgeons commonly refer to wisdom teeth as third molars. These teeth typically emerge or erupt when you are 16 to 18 years of age, but may erupt at any time during adulthood.
Some patients do not form third molar teeth, while others have enough room in the jaw for the teeth to come in and be functional. Many people, however, do not have jaws large enough to accommodate the third molars, so the teeth become stuck, or “impacted,” in the bone and/or gum tissue.
Impacted wisdom teeth can result in dental decay, pain, infection, damage to adjacent teeth, and the formation of dental cysts and tumors. Therefore, most dental professionals recommend the elective removal of impacted wisdom teeth to avoid these problems.