It has often been said that getting one’s wisdom teeth removed is as common among teenagers and younger adults as attending their senior prom or getting their driver’s licenses. According to a research article in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, roughly 5 million individuals have 10 million wisdom teeth extracted every year. So, if this is the case, why do we have them to begin with? Are they extra teeth that we really don’t need? The following will help to answer these questions.
What exactly are Wisdom Teeth anyway?
These are the 3rd set of molars that develop in a person between the ages of 17 and 21. They are the last set of molars in that they are situated in the back of your jaw and are the last teeth to erupt through your gumline. Because they develop when we are older and supposedly wiser, they are called wisdom teeth. Although they once played a significant role in primitive times (see next), they are a source of oral health issues and, in some cases, significant pain.
So why do We have them?
Research and science have led to the belief that wisdom teeth helped us consume our primitive diets which usually consisted of nuts, plants, roots, and uncooked meats. These were tough foods and required lots of chewing, hence the benefits of having that 3rd set of molars. Today, we cook foods to soften them up and have mastered the use of forks, knives, and spoons when so we can eat. As a result, many anthropologists now believe that we evolved beyond the need for these teeth. That is why it is
What are the Reasons for Removing Wisdom Teeth?
For those who develop wisdom teeth, these late-erupting molars can cause oral health problems ranging from minor to acute. While primitive humans had larger jaws that could handle that 3rd set of molars, this is no longer the case as many of us don’t have sufficient space in our mouths for their late arrival. With evolution and change in diet, jaws and teeth have undertaken a change. As a result, wisdom teeth often become impacted and become trapped below the gumline, break through the gums at a sideways angle, or only partially erupt through the gums. As a result, they can cause:
- bite problems
- crowded teeth
- cysts below the gums
- an elevated risk of tooth decay
- facial swelling and jaw pain
With a good periodontist, it helps to know how to keep your oral health. To learn more about your wisdom teeth or to schedule an appointment for an exam, call Dr. Tamara Rojas today at (954) 963-4700.