The wisdom tooth has become somewhat of a YouTube star. The anesthesia for the tooth removal procedure puts patients into a postoperative stupor. Friends and family take advantage by breaking out the smartphone. Silly questions and even pranks are filmed, uploaded, and enjoyed by millions.
This begs an important question — Why do we have wisdom teeth? If so many people are getting them removed, then why do we have wisdom teeth in the first place? Why would we have a body part that seems only able to cause pain? After all, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons says 85% of adults have had a wisdom tooth removed.
Scientists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs. These are parts of the body that have become useless through evolution. But wisdom teeth, or your mouth’s third set of molars, may have served a purpose during early human days. Ancient humans ate a diet of coarse and rough foods that would wear teeth down. Now we have the advantage of softer foods, forks, and knives. Perhaps wisdom teeth were the body’s way of keeping spare masticators in case you ground your teeth down to uselessness in the wild.
Wisdom Teeth Usher In Wisdom
Humans have a pretty regular clock when it comes to molar development. The first set of molars comes in around the age of six while the second set comes in around 12-years-old. Your permanent teeth then settle in for the rest of your life. But the rogue third eruption of wisdom teeth usually takes place between the ages of 17 to 25. It is said that this the time where you begin to acquire wisdom, and it’s ushered in with the development of wisdom teeth. The average person pushes out one to four wisdom teeth that may need to be removed.
Wisdom Teeth Are Unpredictable
Some people’s wisdom teeth lay dormant. Others sprout their wisdom teeth without any problems at all. However, an estimated 85% of adults have had at least one wisdom tooth removed because of the dire consequences of a bad wisdom tooth. Evolution has caused human jaws to become smaller with the advent of cooking and utensils. This causes your permanent teeth to become impacted when a rogue wisdom tooth sprouts. Movement of the teeth makes it easy for food to get trapped in the gums where harmful bacteria like to live.
Cysts form near the tooth in rare occasions. These fluid-filled sacs can damage jaw bones, other teeth, and expand the jaw. And you don’t want to wait too long to deal with painfully impacted teeth. Those in their late teens and early 20’s bounce back from surgery quickly while those over 35 have a higher risk of complications.
We understand your nervousness and apprehension at the thought of dental care. At North View, you’ll find our friendly staff, comfortable waiting room, and professional office reassuring. Call us with any questions and schedule an appointment today. We can even make sure you don’t end up a YouTube star.