Wisdom teeth. Why do we have them? In most cases they end up getting pulled for reasons we will touch upon later. While wisdom teeth come with a negative connotation these days, there was a time when they served a greater purpose, when survival was in a far greater primitive state. Humans haven’t always had the luxury of using forks and knives. Having all threes molars allowed humans to eat tough foods such as meat, nuts, roots and leaves.
Why Don’t We Need Wisdom Teeth Today?
Let’s take a look at how we prepare our food today and what makes it easier for us to eat, even without wisdom teeth. When was the last time you ate a meal without anything being cut, diced, boiled, steamed or baked? It’s hard to think of something different, isn’t it? Experts believe the way we have been preparing food over the years has caused our jawlines to become smaller, leaving less room for our wisdom teeth.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Become a Problem?
As humans evolved, our overall shape and structure changed. Our jawbone became smaller and could no longer fit all 32 teeth properly. Once wisdom teeth erupt (usually age 17-21), they can crowd other teeth causing problems and severe discomfort. Some wisdom teeth do not fully erupt because they have become “impacted”. This is when there is no room for growth because they are blocked by other teeth. Problems associated with wisdom teeth are:
- Crooked Teeth
- Wisdom Teeth Growing Sideways
- Increased Tooth Decay
- Jaw Pain
- Cysts Under Gums
When Do Dentist Recommend Extraction, Even When There Isn’t a Spacing Problem?
Just because wisdom teeth aren’t causing you any discomfort or spacing problems now, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be extracted. Your dentist will most likely recommend an extraction if your wisdom teeth are so far back in your mouth, that proper care to keep them healthy will be a challenge. This will prevent any long-term troubles you could have with your wisdom teeth.
If you’re deciding whether to have your wisdom teeth removed, make an appointment with Arnold Dentistry. We’ll closely monitor your wisdom teeth and let you know if an extraction is necessary.