Wisdom teeth are the furthest back teeth in all 4 quadrants of the mouth. They are often under the gum and bone or may be partially erupted. Wisdom teeth often do not have enough room to erupt normally. This is an impacted wisdom tooth. A partially erupted wisdom tooth can trap food and bacteria and this can result in infection of the gum around the tooth. It can also cause decay of the wisdom tooth or the adjacent tooth. It can over time result in loss of the supporting gum and bone of the adjacent tooth. This is a type of periodontal or gum disease.
Wisdom teeth that are not exposed and asymptomatic can cause damage to the adjacent teeth. It is also possible that the normal small space around the crown of the wisdom tooth can enlarge. This is a fluid filled sac known as a cyst.
Removal of wisdom teeth that are not causing symptoms in the young adult is reasonable. If they do not have adequate room and are likely to cause future problems, removal of the wisdom teeth in the young person is typically more predictable and straightforward with a lower likelihood of complications. Difficulty in removing wisdom teeth generally increases with age.