4 Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth humans develop, and many people know they can cause problems such as pain when they develop. However, pain isn't the only problem associated with wisdom teeth. Here are four problems that can be caused by your wisdom teeth.

Crowded Teeth

Early humans had longer jaws than those of modern humans, so there was room for their wisdom teeth to erupt without disrupting the positions of the other teeth. Over the millennia, as human brains grew larger, the jaw needed to shorten to make room for the extra brain tissue. This is why so many people today do not have enough room inside their mouths for their wisdom teeth to develop.

When the wisdom teeth grow into a short, modern jaw, the other teeth in the mouth may get pushed out of the way to make room for them. These teeth then become crowded and crooked, and for people that have already had their teeth straightened with braces, the appearance of their wisdom teeth can be very frustrating. This is why your dentist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth even if they don't hurt or cause you any problems yet.

Tooth Decay

While crowded teeth are definitely an aesthetic concern, they can also cause oral health problems like tooth decay. This is because it's harder for you to clean your teeth properly when they are crowded together. When your teeth are straight, is fairly easy to reach all of the front and back surfaces with your toothbrush, and there is enough space between your teeth to fit a strand of floss. When your teeth are crowded, some surfaces may not be accessible with your toothbrush, and your teeth may be too close together for flossing to be possible.

Not being able to clean your teeth properly contributes to tooth decay because bacteria and food particles stay on your teeth. The bacteria feed on the food, and when they do, they produce acids that can then produce holes in your enamel. Over time, these holes get bigger, and you have a cavity.

Gum Disease

Wisdom teeth can contribute to the development of gum disease, a potentially serious infection that begins as red, swollen gums. This is because your wisdom teeth are a major breeding ground for bacteria, and when bacteria accumulate around your gums, your gums can become irritated and infected.

If your wisdom teeth have fully erupted through your gum line, you may find it difficult to thoroughly clean around them because they are right in the back of your mouth and hard-to-reach with your toothbrush. This allows bacteria to build up, resulting in gum disease. If your wisdom teeth are impacted and have only slightly poked through your gums, bacteria can pass through the opening and then breed out of reach.


Dentigerous cysts may form around your impacted wisdom teeth. These cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form around the impacted teeth, and they're thought to be caused by the pressure exerted by the impacted tooth as it tries to erupt through your gums.

These cysts are a concern because if they become large enough, they can displace or damage the surrounding teeth. They can also grow into your jawbone and destroy the bone; it's also possible for them to grow into the sinuses or the alveolar nerve. While these cysts can be surgically removed, it's best to just have your wisdom teeth removed before any cysts form.

Wisdom teeth can cause many problems inside your mouth, even if they're not causing you any pain. If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed yet, make an appointment with resources like Dale D. Lentz DDS to find out if you should have the procedure done.