It’s a ritual almost everyone goes through in their teen or young adult years: the removal of wisdom teeth.
Your mouth experiences plenty of change as you go through life, but wisdom teeth are one of the largest.
There is a lot of hype and fear built around wisdom teeth removal. Below, we’ll look further at what wisdom teeth are and when they should be removed.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars in your mouth. They grow in towards the end of your teens and/or into your early 20’s.
In a small number of people, wisdom teeth grow in just fine. They have enough extra room in their mouths to accommodate these new molars. However, many people need them removed due to a lack of space.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Scientists and historians believe that wisdom teeth are a leftover evolutionary adaptation we no longer need.
Ages ago, our typical diet was largely chewy, fibrous plants and raw meat from animals we hunted. To eat these tougher foods and reduce wear on teeth, our ancestors had a larger jaw with the third set of molars — the wisdom teeth.
These days, our diet is much easier to eat. Our jaws shrunk over many centuries, but our wisdom teeth continue to grow in anyways. Thus, many people need them removed.
When to Remove Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth can stay only if they are healthy, grow in fully, are positioned correctly, and can be used in biting correctly. That isn’t the case for most.
There are a few signs that your wisdom teeth are in need of removal.
- Impaction: Wisdom teeth often grow in the wrong way due to their position in your mouth. They can also get stuck under the gums or only grow in part way. This can lead to infections or cysts that can damage other structures in the area.
- Angle: Your wisdom teeth may grow in at the wrong angle, pushing against other teeth. This can damage several teeth in your mouth.
- Mouth size: Most people’s mouths aren’t large enough to accommodate this last set of molars.
- Cavities/gum disease: If you can’t reach back to your wisdom teeth to properly brush and floss them, you can quickly develop tooth decay and/or gum disease in the area.
Have you experienced any of the above signs of improperly grown wisdom teeth? Need your wisdom teeth removed in Philadelphia? Absolute Smile’s professionals are here to help. When you speak to one of our dentists, you can figure out if you need your wisdom teeth removed and you can learn your options for removal. Contact us today to schedule an appointment — all new patients get a free initial consultation.