If you are between the ages of 15 and 21 you will likely require the procedure in the near future. Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, can cause concerns due to a lack of space in the mouth, and because of that, they are generally removed preemptively.

You could face the following issues if you choose to delay or avoid the procedure:


When your wisdom teeth emerge, there is rarely enough space. This scenario can cause the wisdom teeth to emerge partially at odd angles, causing issues with your gum tissue and neighboring teeth.  The area becomes a site of food impaction, and it is difficult to keep clean, creating optimal conditions for periodontal disease, infection, and inflammation. 

Periodontal Disease

Partially erupted wisdom teeth create nooks and crevices where you cannot brush effectively, which in turn allows bacteria to grow unhindered, accelerating periodontal disease. The partially emerged teeth let bacteria reach deep below the gumline and spread. This can cause compromise and bone loss to your second molars.


Pericoronitis is a situation that occurs on lower wisdom teeth as a result of infection and trauma. When the lower wisdom tooth erupts partially, the overlying gum tissue swells. This swollen tissue gets traumatized by the opposing, erupted tooth when biting. This causes irritation, inflammation and discomfort, prohibiting the ability to eat. 


The bacterial infection that originates with periodontal disease can worsen and spread over time. Being unable to properly clean the affected area allows bacteria to grow in great numbers and eventually spread throughout the gums and into the jawbone.


The partially erupted wisdom tooth is difficult to access for appropriate care and hygiene, making it susceptible for caries development. Food trapping can also occur, causing a bad environment behind the second molar, which is another area for potential caries formation.  


Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can uncommonly occur in the jaw. Often, it is associated with an impacted wisdom tooth and originates from the tissue surrounding the crown of the tooth. Cysts, although benign, can grow very large and be destructive to the jaw bone and other teeth. 

Find Out Whether You Need Wisdom Teeth Removal

If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, you are at risk of developing any number of these complications. They may be well underway, developing without obvious symptoms. However, they will reach a point where discomfort, swelling, difficulty chewing, and even tooth loss may occur.

Your regular dentist should identify the appropriate time for wisdom teeth removal during routine visits and refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon as needed. However, if you have not had regular dental care or are experiencing symptoms, scheduling a consultation with a surgeon yourself may be in order.

The team at Inland Empire Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons provides wisdom teeth removal along with many other oral procedures. We can determine whether you need the procedure and carry out safe and effective surgery for both simple and complex cases.

Read more about how our team handles wisdom teeth removal.