What are wisdom teeth and how did they get their name? Your wisdom teeth are simply your third set of molars. Wisdom teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 and 25. In most cases, people will have to deal with their wisdom teeth at some time or another, so let’s take a look at these interesting and sometimes troublesome teeth.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
For early humans to chew and eat, wisdom teeth were essential. Because our ancestors ate leaves, roots, and meat, their teeth may have worn down faster, so they needed a third row of molars. The types of food we eat have changed, so they are no longer necessary. Some people never develop them because of evolution over time. But others do, without experiencing any problems. Approximately 85% of people with wisdom teeth will need to have them removed.
Research is being conducted on wisdom teeth as science advances. Researchers have discovered they can be used to produce stem cells. As such, you may want to keep them after they are removed. Alternatively, researchers are looking for ways to prevent wisdom teeth from developing at all.
How do they cause problems?
Humans have developed smaller jaws over time than their ancestors. We simply do not have enough room in our mouths to accommodate extra teeth. Wisdom teeth can crowd other teeth, resulting in cosmetic issues such as crooked teeth, and can cause pain in the jaw, swollen gums, and other mouth irritations.
It is common for them to become impacted. When the teeth are misaligned, there is simply not enough room for them to break through the surface, causing quite a bit of discomfort. Wisdom teeth are also difficult to clean since they are so far back. As a result, they are at risk of infection and decay. Therefore, dentists often recommend removing wisdom teeth.
What are the signs that your wisdom teeth are causing problems?
Normally, this is discovered during routine dental visits, but if you have jaw pain, swollen or painful gums, or a strange taste in the back of your mouth, you should set up an appointment with your dentist to find out what’s wrong.
Our dental office can evaluate the position of your wisdom teeth and recommend appropriate procedures if necessary. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth or would like to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact our office.