Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

by on February 20, 2019
Posted in blog, Wisdom Teeth

Removing Wisdom TeethIt is said that with age comes wisdom. That may be why our wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to develop. Sometimes wisdom teeth can be an asset to our mouths, but more often than not they can prove to be troublesome.


What are Wisdom Teeth?


Wisdom teeth — the third set of molars that often appear in adulthood — are vestigial organs that are our inheritance from our earlier, more primitive ancestors. Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were an evolutionary byproduct of Early Man’s diet of rough foraged foods. As humans have evolved and our environments have changed, so too has our need for wisdom teeth. That third set of molars has become all but completely functionless.


Complications from Wisdom Teeth


There are many people who never experience complications from their wisdom teeth, and whose wisdom teeth are functionally equivalent to their other teeth. But according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons an astounding 85% of us will experience some complication involving our wisdom teeth that will necessitate their extraction.


  1. Impacted wisdom teeth: because the jaw is generally too small to allow for the development and eruption of wisdom teeth, they can become impacted. An impacted tooth is one that is essentially stuck in the gum or blocked by other teeth so cannot come in. Impacted wisdom teeth may also grow sideways and press against your other molars, which can cause pain and tooth shifting.
  2. Overcrowding: when the wisdom teeth can develop properly, the surrounding teeth need to shift in order to accommodate their new neighbour. When this happens, overcrowding can occur. Overcrowding can cause a gamut of problems from poor dental hygiene, excessive tooth wear, and the prevention of proper jaw alignment.
  3. Infections: when a wisdom tooth is partially blocked or only partially erupts through the gums, the food you eat can become trapped underneath the gum line. This can lead to bacterial growth, infections and painful abscesses.
  4. Tooth decay and cavities: when wisdom teeth do come in, they are so far back on the jaw that it’s quite difficult to reach them to adequately brush and floss. Inadequate dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay and cavities.


Removing Wisdom Teeth


The wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to develop, but potential problems can be detected during childhood. This is one of many reasons that it is important to visit your Brampton dentist regularly. Your dentist will be able to monitor the development of your wisdom teeth and recommend a course of treatment, if one should be needed.


Whether one, some, or all of your wisdom teeth need to be removed, it’s best to have the procedure performed in your late teens or early adulthood. Because the roots are only about two-thirds grown at this point they are more easily removed. This ensures optimal healing for the patient and fewer complications overall.


To schedule a dental cleaning and checkup appointment, please feel free to contact Kennedy Square Dental at (905) 789-7339 today!


Tags: , , ,