We’ve all heard of them, wisdom teeth, these problematic 4th molars that grow in when we reach a certain age and then have to be removed. The question is, of course, if these teeth almost always have to be removed then why do we even have them? The answer has to do with the evolution of the human species and the change in our diet from hard foods that require a lot of chewing to process properly to softer foods that no longer require such efficient grinding. But that’s just the start of our journey.
Wisdom Teeth – The 4th (and sometimes more) Molars
The first thing to know is that not everyone gets wisdom teeth, and of those who do they don’t generally make their appearance known until the age of 17 at the earliest. Humans used to have a diet that consisted almost entirely of nuts, leaves, roots, and meat that required us to have a much more robust set of teeth to handle it properly. While we have almost entirely moved beyond the need for wisdom teeth, there are still some people who develop these vestigial teeth and have to have them removed to ease discomfort and protect the jaw from the damage they can cause.
What Problems Do Wisdom Teeth Cause?
Since the mouth no longer really has room for these extraneous molars, there are all sorts of problems that can arise from their development. Most of these are caused by a simple lack of room and can include crooked teeth (from being shoved out of alignment by the wisdom teeth), crowded teeth (from just too many teeth) to wisdom teeth that come in sideways and apply pressure to the existing teeth, possibly even breaking them. This pressure and compromising of the mouth’s structure can also lead to jaw pain, a higher instance of tooth decay, and even cysts and tumors that grow in under the gums.
What Can Be Done About Wisdom Teeth?
The best thing that can be done for wisdom teeth is to have them surgically removed. Most dentists will keep a careful eye on your oral structure to determine if you have wisdom teeth developing and what needs to be done to address them if there are. With careful observation and due diligence, your dentist can ensure that no harm comes to the rest of your teeth by removing these new ones when they begin to cause problems. In some patients, there is more than one additional set of wisdom teeth, with two sets, three, or even four not being unheard of (though rare).
If you suspect you may be suffering from complications involving wisdom teeth pick up your phone and call Dr. April J. Toyer at Lifetime Dental Care in Woodbridge, VA. She and her team of experts are there to help families like yours enjoy fantastic dental health while address concerns like wisdom teeth. Don’t let your smile be impacted by unwanted teeth, pick up your phone and give them a call for an appointment and consultation today!