Every year, around 5 million people get their wisdom teeth removed. This is because they can cause oral problems such as the wisdom teeth growing sideways, teeth crowding, increased decaying of teeth, and discomfort in your jaw. So why do we have these teeth and do they truly signify wisdom?


What are wisdom teeth?


   Wisdom teeth are also known as the third set of molars. Molar teeth are the largest teeth we have, allowing us to grind food so that they become smaller bits which are easier to swallow. Early humans needed the wisdom teeth as they would often eat raw meat and other tough foods. The extra molars were helpful back then, but now we mostly cook our food, which makes it softer and easier to chew. This eradicates the need for these teeth. Not everyone grows wisdom teeth though, and this can be seen as advantageous. We have evolved over centuries to not grow wisdom teeth, and it is predicted that due to this, people will stop growing wisdom teeth.


Why are wisdom teeth so problematic?


   These teeth can be difficult for various reasons. Firstly, people can have their wisdom teeth grow sideways. This can happen if the tooth is pushed up in a crooked angle. This will lead to more issues, such as surrounding teeth and the wisdom teeth causing extreme pain, teeth being pushed and your teeth being weakened. If teeth are pushed it can cause crowding. This is when there is not enough space for all your teeth so they push up against each other which results in soreness and can make it difficult to even close your mouth. Another problem is that wisdom teeth, being the teeth at the very back of your jaw, can be pretty hard to brush. This lets bacteria spread. From there, your teeth will experience more infections such as cavities. Your breath will also be unpleasant to say the least.


Why are wisdom teeth called wisdom teeth?


   Wisdom teeth generally grow between the ages of 17 and 21. They are called wisdom teeth as they grow much later than the rest of your adult teeth, and age often signifies wisdom, therefore the teeth grow when you are wiser. Turns out wisdom teeth don’t actually resemble wisdom.


What do I do if I have problems with my wisdom teeth?


   It is advised that you should first book an appointment with your local dentist. After they check it out, you might be told that you will need an extraction. An extraction will involve you receiving anaesthetics to numb your pain, and sometimes you might be put to sleep before they cut into your gums to take out the tooth and its roots. Dentists have recommended taking out the wisdom teeth even if they are not causing issues at the moment, so that in the future you won’t have to worry about them. If you do not require a removal of the wisdom teeth, you might instead have frequent appointments with your dentist to prevent the teeth from causing further problems while keeping it in check.


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