Wisdom teeth usually begin to appear in the late teens and early twenties. When the teeth begin to appear, the gums and soft tissue near them may become sore and inflamed. As the top of the tooth begins to cut through the gum, bleeding may occur. If the tooth continues to cut the tissue, infection may become a problem. When the wisdom teeth begin to emerge, they may put pressure on the teeth that lie next to them. The dentist may choose to remove them before they have a chance to fully erupt, which can prevent other teeth from being moved or damaged as the wisdom teeth try to push through.
An impaction occurs when a wisdom tooth comes in sideways or at an angle where its upward motion is halted by the teeth that lie next to it. An impacted tooth can be extremely painful and if not taken care of in a timely fashion, may cause the tooth it is lying against to be broken or damaged. If a tooth becomes impacted, it may not fully break the surface of the gum tissue. When this occurs, simply pulling the tooth is not an option. Instead, the dentist may have to perform a surgical procedure in which the gum is cut, the tooth is broken and then removed in pieces.
This will often depend on how much room is available and whether or not the teeth are impacted or wedged against the jaw bone. If there is sufficient room and the wisdom teeth have already broken the surface of the gums, the dentist may be able to pull them like any other tooth. If there is an impaction or restrictions on how much room is available, the dentist may sedate the patient, cut through the gum, and break the tooth into smaller pieces so it can be removed. If an incision is used, the doctor may close the resulting hole with one or two stitches.