Wisdom Teeth

What do typical impacted wisdom teeth look like? Wisdom teeth can have many different orientations but the adjacent image is a very common appearance.

Impacted teeth that are not treated can frequently lead to recurrent infections. The adjacent image is a typical example of a minor infection with resulting symptoms of swelling, pain and difficulty in opening the mouth.

Damage to adjacent teeth occurs because of gum disease as well decay. The useless wisdom tooth leads to the harm of what would have been a perfectly healthy functional second molar. Here are typical x-ray images we see. (The arrow points to decay on the second molars):

While infection, dental decay and gum disease are the most common problems we see, cysts, tumors and resorption of adjacent teeth are also possible when wisdom teeth are not removed.

Examples of these problems are seen in the following images of both moderate, larger and huge cyst or tumors which were all discovered with routine Panoramic X-rays.

Resorption of roots of adjacent healthy teeth can also be caused by wisdom teeth. In this case, the wisdom tooth resorbed virtually all the roots of entire second molar in this 25 year old patient who presented with pain in her upper jaw. See how effectively the wisdom tooth has destroyed what would have been a healthy second molar!