Wisdom Teeth / Third Molar Removal
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the wisdom teeth. When you hear people talking about them, it almost always involves removing them. Why is it that we develop teeth that, in most cases, end up getting extracted? While some people never develop any issues with them, these third molars are the source of substantial pain for many. If your wisdom teeth are causing you problems, Keith Grote, DMD can help.
Why Do We Get Wisdom Teeth in the First Place?
The third molars, the ones most know better as the wisdom teeth, were actually once very important. Long ago, our ancestors lived on a diet of incredibly coarse, very tough foods. In order to eat the foods they needed to survive, the jaw had to be larger and stronger. Our ancestors also needed all three sets of molars to effectively break food down.
Today, our lives are much different. We have tools to cut food and ways to cook it. These factors make foods much easier to chew. It is believed that as new ways of preparing and cooking food were introduced, the human jaw began to develop smaller. Even so, we still get our wisdom teeth.
When Do the Wisdom Teeth Come In?
The wisdom teeth come in much later than the rest of the adult teeth. They typically make their appearance at the very back of the jaw between the ages of 17 and 21. The exact time, however, varies from person to person. While most individuals develop 4, there are some who may never develop one or more of them. This only happens to a very small percentage of people though.
Are Wisdom Teeth Necessary?
The wisdom teeth used to be incredibly important. Today, however, they do not serve any functional purposes. Like the appendix, they are classified as vestigial. We develop wisdom teeth, but they are not necessary. The foods we eat today are nowhere near as coarse and difficult as the foods our ancestors ate. As such, the additional teeth are not needed to break food down.
What Causes Problems with the Wisdom Teeth?
The biggest issue that occurs with the wisdom teeth is that they become impacted. This is an issue caused by the inability of the teeth to erupt properly. They may be completely trapped below the gums or they may not be able to erupt completely through the tissue. One of the most common causes of impacted wisdom teeth is that the jaw simply does not have enough space to accommodate them. When the wisdom teeth are impacted, they can cause significant pain as well as damage to your second molars. You may experience swelling and find it difficult to eat, speak, or even make the slightest movements. The best solution for dealing with impacted wisdom teeth is to extract them.
Can I Keep My Wisdom Teeth if There are No Issues?
There are some lucky few who have their wisdom teeth grow in without experiencing any issues. If your wisdom teeth are not causing any complications and your other teeth are not at risk for damage, it is possible to live with your wisdom teeth. However, if they do start causing problems, they may then need to be removed.
For some, the wisdom teeth are never a problem. If you are experiencing pain and other complications because of them, however, extractions may be necessary. For more information, call Keith Grote, DMD at 530-756-8800 today.