When wisdom teeth (or third molars) are blocked or unable to erupt into a normal position, they are termed ‘impacted.’ These teeth may grow sideways, partially erupt through gums or remain fully covered by bone and gum tissue. Many problems can occur with these partially or fully impacted teeth as they try to erupt, but are unable to do so. Pain, infection, damage to adjacent teeth and crowding of teeth can occur. For completely impacted wisdom teeth, more serious problems can develop if the sac that surrounds the tooth enlarges to form a cyst or tumor. This enlargement can result in permanent damage to the jawbone, adjacent teeth or nerves. Removal of the associated impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early intervention is recommended (mid to late teens) to avoid such future problems and decrease the surgical risks involved.