Typically in the late teens to early twenties, the third set of molars, or wisdom teeth, begin to come in. While it is possible for them to emerge in alignment with the existing teeth, other times there can be complications. When there is not enough room in the rear of the mouth for the third molars to emerge, they can become what is called impacted, or stuck, at the area of emergence.
There are two ways this is categorized. The first identifies how far the tooth has penetrated through the bone and gum tissue. The tooth can be fully impacted in bone, partially impacted in bone, or impacted in the gum tissue.
The second method of categorization involves the angle at which the tooth is emerging. The range varies from being vertically aligned with the other teeth, to being entirely horizontal in orientation. They can also be angled towards the neighboring teeth or away from them.
Impacted third molars can potentially lead to significant pain, infections, bite misalignment, and damage to the surrounding teeth. To prevent these conditions from occurring, impacted third molars should be extracted to ensure optimum oral health.
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