Wisdom teeth are your third molars and are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. They come in between the ages of 17 – 25 and often don’t fully grow in. A wisdom tooth that doesn’t have room to grow is called an impacted wisdom tooth.

Overview and Symptoms

An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain, the possibility of infection and can lead to more serious problems if not treated. Your dentist or oral surgeon can evaluate your teeth and mouth to determine if you have impacted wisdom teeth or another condition. This type of evaluation may include:

  • A review of your dental symptoms and general health.
  • An examination of the condition of your teeth and gums.
  • Dental X-rays that can reveal the presence of impacted teeth, as well as signs of damage to your teeth or bones.


Impacted wisdom teeth that are causing pain or other dental problems are usually surgically removed. Common reasons for surgical removal may include:

  • Infection or gum disease (periodontal disease) involving the wisdom teeth.
  • Tooth decay in partially erupted wisdom teeth.
  • Cysts or tumors involving the wisdom teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth that are causing damage to neighboring teeth.

Removal is normally done as an outpatient procedure, so you'll go home the same day. Removal will not affect your bite or oral health in the future. 

General Surgery

The Division of General Surgery offers a complete range of surgical services, including the latest minimally invasive approaches, for patients with a wide range of general surgical disorders.

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