The flat teeth we use to grind our food before swallowing are called morals. The third set of molars in our mouth are called wisdom teeth and are the last pair of permanent teeth that most people still get. On average, there will be two wisdom teeth at the top and two at the bottom, but it’s possible to have more or less. It’s also possible to have no molar teeth in your structure at all! By the time a person reaches the age of 12, their wisdom teeth will usually begin to appear on dental X-Rays, and at this point, they are still well below the gum line. Wisdom teeth erupt typically from the age of 12-25.
If you are curious about their name, then the only explanation is that since children will grow the third molars when they reach an older age and become wise, someone thought it would be good to give them this name. In case your jaw does not have enough space to accommodate the growth of these third molars, the wisdom teeth will become trapped and won’t be able to move into the proper position. Since they are stuck in one place, it will create pain and pressure.
You might have come across many people who have had their wisdom teeth removed. That’s completely normal, and there is nothing to worry about getting the third molars extracted. Not everyone needs to get them removed, but according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, almost 85% of wisdom teeth must be removed because of the problems they create in the individual’s jaw. Here’s a list of situations that require you to get your wisdom teeth extraction:
- Sideways growth and or any other painful position that causes jaw problems
- Partial eruption
- Extreme gum swelling and jaw pain
- Get an infection or cavities since it’s partially erupted
- Jaw structure doesn’t have enough room to accommodate their growth
- Impacted Teeth
- Rare circumstances could lead to tumors or cysts forming in the soft tissue, causing damage to the surrounding teeth and jaw
At this point, you might be asking if wisdom teeth only cause problems, and almost everyone gets them removed, so why do humans have them in the first place. The human jaw evolved over time and got smaller, and now we may have outgrown the usage of wisdom teeth. Meaning the people who came before us, needed them, but we no longer do. The third molars were used for a hard-to-chew diet where our ancestors had to eat meat, nuts, leaves, and roots. Now we cook our food and season them properly, they are soft to chew. We even regularly use utensils to chop our meals down into tiny pieces, making the eating process easier. All this means that we no longer need the chewing power our ancestors needed to break down hard-to-eat foods into smaller pieces and swallow them down, and so, the purpose of wisdom teeth was lost.
Wisdom teeth aren’t all bad. The third molars can grow fully without any medical complications in some cases. It is only when they get cavities or cause severe pain that dentists recommend removing them. Dentists will always check the current status of your wisdom teeth during your examinations to ensure everything is progressing in a healthy manner. Your dentist will have it removed if a sign comes forward that the third molar will soon cause problems.
There are some patients who refuse to get their wisdom teeth removed even though their dentist has recommended the procedure. As long as you have appropriate reasons for refusing the treatment, it never is a good idea to go against the recommendation of professional and experienced dentists. If you want to keep your wisdom teeth, then brush them properly daily. However, the third molars are quite back into our mouth, making it hard to brush them.