ZocdocAnswersAre Wisdom Teeth Safe from Cavities if They've Never Erupted?

Question

Are Wisdom Teeth Safe from Cavities if They've Never Erupted?

All four of my wisdom teeth developed fully but never erupted from underneath the gums. They can only be seen on x-rays. The x-rays show the two wisdom teeth on top to have roots that go up into my sinuses. One of the bottom wisdom teeth is totally on its side underneath the gum. They cause me no pain and I've had braces to straighten my teeth without getting the wisdom teeth removed. One oral surgeon I spoke to years ago said it would be so difficult to remove the wisdom teeth that I should leave them alone unless they cause me problems. My question is how likely are they to ever give me trouble. Will being impacted and totally under my gums with no part of them showing above the gum keep them from getting cavities or other problems? Can I just not worry about my wisdom teeth now?

Answer

It sounds like you have a rather unusual situation with your wisdom teeth, and I would recommend discussing this concern with your dentist. You are right that most people do have the teeth erupt through the gums which in most cases requires them to be removed. From what you describe, it does sound like it would be rather major oral surgery to extract the wisdom teeth and could in fact cause problems with your other teeth. If the teeth have not erupted and are truly underneath the gums, then they would not be able to develop any cavities. It is possible to develop infection or abscess with a partial eruption, when bacteria can get under the gums, but it sounds like that might not be the case for you. However, if it has been some time since you have been examined by a dentist, the best thing to do would be to have a consultation (maybe as part of an annual cleaning!) with a dentist who can perform another set of x-rays and do a thorough exam to make sure that the gums overlying your wisdom teeth are intact. Your dentist can also let you know of any warning signs that would suggest you should seek dental care about these teeth.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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