Dr. Brian Farrell

Medically reviewed by Dr. Brian Farrell


Also known as your third molars, wisdom teeth typically appear between the ages of 16 and 25. While it is possible to experience no issues with these molars, most people will suffer from related complications. Problems mostly occur when a tooth becomes impacted. An impacted tooth is a tooth that is either fully or partially covered by the gums or bone.


To fully understand the benefits of wisdom teeth removal, it helps to first understand the problems they can cause. Wisdom teeth that are painless and seemingly unobtrusive are easy to ignore, but even asymptomatic molars can wreak havoc on your gums and lead to periodontal disease. The following side effects are just a few of the common complications associated with impacted teeth.

  • Pain in the jaw
  • Swelling in the jaw
  • Inflamed and irritated gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Damage to surrounding structures
  • Loss of gums and/or bone


In addition to the complication above, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to more serious problems and diseases. While there are many arguments for the benefits of wisdom tooth extraction, here are the top five reasons to help you make an informed decision.

1. Inflammation and infection

Due to a combination of limited space and partial impactions, wisdom teeth often lead to gum inflammation. This can lead to painful gum disease or other health hazards. Recent studies show that once inflammation sets in, it’s very difficult to alleviate it. Often, it spreads to surrounding areas. When a tooth is partially impacted, a separation between it and the gums creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which dramatically increases the risk of infection.

2. Overcrowding

When wisdom teeth erupt, they try to enter an already crowded area. With little room to move into, neighboring teeth are often pushed aside. The result is misalignment. Whether your beautiful smile is thanks to braces or genetics, wisdom teeth can undo a straight smile and completely unravel years of dental work.

3. Damage to nearby teeth

While overcrowding is likely, wisdom teeth can do more to their neighbors than simply invade their space. In fact, they can damage the adjacent second molars by contributing to bone loss and cavities.

4. Cysts or tumors

An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to tiny tumors or cysts in the jawbone, which can lead to joint pain that would require the assistance of a TMJ specialist and a variety of TMJ treatment options that you would rather avoid.

5. Difficult to keep clean

If you experience no pain or obvious complications with the arrival of your wisdom teeth, your future dental hygiene may still be at risk. More than likely, space is at a minimum, and it can be difficult to properly brush and floss around a wisdom tooth. Limited space and their hard-to-reach location make these teeth prime targets for cavities and plaque buildup.


While many individuals accommodate these teeth with no discomfort or issues, others experience complications that intensify with age. Without extraction, you may experience recurrent infections and pain that require extensive treatment options, medications and more. For peace of mind, speaking with your primary dental practitioner, a wisdom tooth specialist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can address any concerns you may have.


If you’re looking for a wisdom teeth specialist with deep experience and board-certification to provide outstanding care to you or your loved ones, contact Carolinas Center For Oral & Facial Surgery today to assess your unique situation. With locations in and around Charlotte, Gastonia, Rock Hill and Greenville, South Carolina, our team of doctors will make your comfort their top priority.


Wisdom teeth contain many valuable stem cells that can be stored after having them extracted. If you experience illness or injury in the future, your stem cells can be shipped to your care provider for potential use in regenerative medicine and therapies. Our practice is enrolled with Stemodontics®, a leading stem cell banking service. Learn more about stem cells and how we make it possible for patients to invest in their future health.