Wisdom teeth are the common cause of the vast majority of problems during the late teens to early twenty’s as it is during this period that they are erupting. After age 25 there is a much lesser likelihood of problems occurring.
Due to the way humans have evolved, we now have shorter jaw bones but still the same number of teeth wanting to erupt. Space is limited at the back of the mouth and as the wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, they can become impacted. The term impacted means that they become wedged in between the second molars and the bone at the back of the jaw and cannot therefore erupt fully. When a tooth is partially erupted, a gum flap extends over the crown of the tooth. Bacteria and food can get stuck underneath this flap which makes the area become inflamed, swollen and very uncomfortable for the patient.