Wisdom teeth are the last teeth you develop. They are the final set of molars to emerge in the very back of your teeth, usually during your late teens to early twenties. Sometimes the wisdom teeth have enough room to grow and naturally emerge through the gums. In other cases wisdom teeth cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. An impacted wisdom tooth is one that does not make it through the gums at the right angle and becomes stuck under the gums. Tooth impaction can cause pain and discomfort.
Other teeth and even the jaw can take serious damage from an impacted wisdom tooth. These hard to reach impacted wisdom teeth can become a place for bacteria to gather and grow. This can lead to situations that require a wisdom tooth extraction. Large problems can arise from impacted wisdom such as infections or structural jaw damage so removal is sometimes necessary. This is part of the reason why we always take an X-ray during our routine dental exams, to reveal any impacted teeth that need to be exposed or remove.