Some interesting facts about wisdom teeth
Having your third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth, removed is one of the most common procedures done by dentists today. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, it is estimated that around 85% of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed.
But why is this the case? Why do so many third molars become impacted or misaligned? And why do they take so long to appear compared to the other permanent teeth?
Well according to anthropologists, the early humans suffered from extraordinary wear of the teeth due to a tough diet. The damage allowed for the teeth to drift, which guaranteed plenty of space for the third molar to erupt. Back then, the third molar was able to emerge into the oral cavity at around the same time as the other permanent teeth because of the lack of obstacles.
Nowadays, diets have become a lot gentler on the teeth. When you pair that with the amazing advances in dental care we are accustomed to, like braces and retainers, people end up having a much healthier, fuller, and straighter smile. But these don’t leave much room for the third molars to grow out. They have to wait for the dental arch to become larger for them to finally start emerging, which now occurs around the ages of 17-25, or the “age of wisdom”. Impaction and misalignment occur when the dental arch still doesn’t have enough room for the wisdom teeth to fully emerge unchallenged, which for most people is often the case.
What used to be a beneficial addition to the mouth has now become an unfortunate nuisance, and even if the wisdom teeth come out with no problems, it doesn’t mean there won’t be problems later in life. Make sure to consult with your dentist to see if you need your wisdom teeth removed.