On a daily basis, I see patients for consultations in regards to their infected and painful third molars a.k.a. wisdom teeth.
What is the most common reason why they did not address their third molars in a timely fashion? “But it was not hurting me” or ” I heard that if they are not bothering you to just leave them alone”. Unfortunately, just because the third molars are “Pain-free” it does not mean that they are “Disease-free”.
Just like most cancers, they start off with no symptoms, but once we have discovered a cancer via screening exams, it has to be treated – with or without symptoms. The same is also true here. Once there is radiographic signs of damage to the jaw bone, adjacent teeth and so forth; it is best treated before things become painful and infected.
The more infected and symptomatic a third molar, the longer it will take for it to heal afterwards AND the rate of complications during and after surgery will increase.
This is the whole premise behind why it is recommended to remove impacted third molars before they become painful and symptomatic.
Below is a great summary from the AAOMS: