A Word to the Wise – All About Wisdom Teeth

“Why do we have wisdom teeth if we always have to pull them out?” you might say. There’s a lot to understand about these fascinating late bloomers in our mouths.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

More commonly referred to as “third molars” by dentists, wisdom teeth are an extra set of teeth in the back of the upper and lower jaw that typically emerge in our late teens or early twenties. They are often removed due to lack of room in the jaw.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

It’s likely that we developed wisdom teeth long ago when our diets were a lot tougher on our teeth. Without the regular daily dental care we have today, tooth decay and eventual tooth loss were commonplace. These teeth came in later in life after our ancestors had likely lost some of their teeth.

When Will I Get My Wisdom Teeth?

Maybe never! That’s right, some people never develop wisdom teeth. The jury is still out as to why. Most likely, though, if you’re going to get them, they’ll come in between the ages 17 and 25. It’s not unheard of to get them earlier or later, though.

Why Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Unlike our ancestors, our jaws are much smaller and we typically keep our teeth for much longer. As such, there’s not much room for our wisdom teeth. Because of this lack of room, the third molars come in at bad angles (called impacted teeth) or can press up against other teeth in undesirable or potentially harmful ways. To avoid these conditions, a third molar extraction (wisdom tooth removal) is often recommended. However, there are some individuals who have room enough and no procedure is needed. It’s best to consult with a dentist who can look at your individual case and advise you properly.

Is It Dangerous?

Third molar extraction is a very common oral surgery with a high success rate. As with any surgery, complications are always possible, many of which are very treatable and easily avoided (such as dry sockets). If you have questions about the risks, give us a call or schedule an appointment.

Always remember to stop in and visit us if you have any dental concerns, are experiencing any discomfort or unusual conditions. Happy brushing!