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Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth, Anyway?


Posted on 11/20/2019 by Scott Redlinger
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth, Anyway?The third row of molars is referred to as the wisdom teeth. These teeth erupt between the ages 17 years and 25 years. Most people get wisdom teeth, some don't. Nearly 65% of the people will acquire wisdom teeth. Unerupted or partially erupted wisdom teeth can cause problems.

Why are Wisdom Teeth Present?

Far back in time, wisdom teeth had a very practical application. They were used for chewing. Our ancestors had to subsist on a diet of leaves, tough meat, and edible roots. Teeth could wear out from use, and therefore a third row of molars was an evolutionary requirement. In time, our diets have changed. Today, wisdom teeth are present but do not perform the same function. With many people, the teeth fail to erupt.

Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Problems?

Yes, wisdom teeth can cause problems. Our jaws are narrower than those of our ancestors. Wisdom teeth can push other teeth out of alignment and cause functional as well as cosmetic issues. People with erupted wisdom teeth that are jostling for space may experience jaw pain and inflamed gums.

Another commonly faced issue with wisdom teeth is that partially erupted teeth irritate the gums and can make brushing and cleaning difficult. This increases the risk of infection. It is because of these reasons that dentists recommend that wisdom teeth be extracted. In fact, dentists often recommend the removal of wisdom teeth as a preventative measure to avoid dental issues later on.

If you're experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, then a visit to a dentist is in order. Upon examination, the dentist will be able to decide if all or a few of the teeth need removal.

If you wish to learn more about wisdom teeth and how these can affect your health as you age, then we'd encourage you to book an appointment with us. We can tell you all you want to know about dental health and oral healthcare. Call us.

Scott M. Redlinger, DMD, MD

(775) 430-5355