Exploring the Mouth: What Is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?

Having teeth grow in is simply part of growing up. Throughout your younger years, you experience almost all of your teeth erupting. But it isn’t until you’re in your late teens or early adulthood that you may experience your wisdom teeth coming in. Wisdom teeth don’t give you more wisdom, so what exactly is the point of having wisdom teeth?

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars that grow in the very back of your mouth. And to be frank, they don’t really have much of a purpose anymore. Experts believe that way back when our ancestor’s diet consisted of rough, coarse food, they needed that extra set of molars to break up the food. But since today’s diets consist of much softer food, people don’t technically need wisdom teeth anymore. And because of evolution, more people are starting to not have any wisdom teeth, or just one or two rather than a full set of four. Wisdom teeth are simply an extra set of molars that take up more room in our mouths, which can end up leading to some common wisdom teeth concerns.

Why Are Wisdom Tooth Extractions Needed?

When people reach the wisdom-tooth age, their dentist will take x-rays and make some important decisions about their wisdom teeth. If you’re lucky, your wisdom teeth will erupt and fit perfectly in your mouth. But if you’re like most people, you may have to have wisdom tooth surgery.

Teeth extractions are common nowadays — in fact, about 69% of Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 have at least one tooth that’s missing in their mouths. And furthermore, one in four Americans older than 74 don’t have any of their natural teeth remaining. But wisdom teeth may need to be removed for a variety of reasons: they could cause overcrowding, become impacted, or cause infections if they erupt incorrectly. Wisdom tooth concerns often lead oral surgeons to remove the wisdom teeth before they even have the chance to erupt. If the wisdom teeth erupt incorrectly, they can cause further problems.

So, if your dentist says you have wisdom teeth, don’t worry. While there are plenty of wisdom teeth concerns to keep in mind, choosing the right oral surgeon will have your teeth removed properly if necessary and you won’t be any less wise.