Third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth, may make it easier to chew. But they’re also a frequent source of pain and discomfort, and are often extracted.
The American Dental Association says misaligned wisdom teeth can:
- Promote bacterial growth and allow trapped food.
- Make it difficult to thoroughly floss between teeth.
- Trigger infection, swelling and pain if the teeth only partially break through the gums.
- Cause crowding of the teeth.
- If a wisdom tooth is impacted, promote formation of a cyst, which could lead to damage of nearby bone.