Reasons for Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth extraction is one of the most common surgeries, but have you ever wondered what are the reasons for wisdom teeth?

You’ve probably seen many funny videos of loopy people coming out of anesthesia after having their wisdom teeth removed. Why do they exist just to be removed?

About Wisdom Teeth

Opposite the small, sharp teeth at the front of your mouth that help tear into food and take bites, the larger flat molars at the back of the mouth are there to grind food into smaller bits before swallowing. Young children get their first molars around the age of 6. After those fall out, a new set emerges typically around age 12. Sometime between the ages of 17 and 21, most people get their third set of molars. These teeth are the last to develop, and since they come in the latest in life when you are the wisest, they won the name “wisdom teeth.”

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Exist?

In order to understand the reasons for wisdom teeth, we need to take a look at human history and evolution. Long ago, the human diet was very different. Most people ate raw, hard foods like roots, meat, nuts, and leaves. For these foods, a lot of chewing was required before swallowing, and this is where the wisdom teeth shine. In addition to helping early humans chew and swallow their food appropriately, anthropologists believe that human jaws were larger at that time and were therefore better able to fit the extra set of molars comfortably.

As humans changed and began to soften their diet by cooking, cutting, and crushing their food with utensils, the extra set of molars became less important. Thus today, people have evolved to the point of no longer needing wisdom teeth Some adults will have no wisdom teeth at all, and many will have only one, two, or three instead of a full set of four.

Problems With Wisdom Teeth

It’s possible for wisdom teeth to grow in and create no problems. However, it’s more likely that one of the following, or other, issues may occur:

  • Overcrowding in mouth
  • Jaw pain
  • Crooked teeth
  • Impacted wisdom teeth causing cysts and even potentially tumors
  • Wisdom teeth growing in sideways

Most of the problems that stem from wisdom teeth come from the fact that they don’t fit in the mouth. Due to these and many other concerns over wisdom teeth, it’s important to have your wisdom teeth monitored closely by an oral health professional before, during, and after they erupt.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here to Help

Since the reasons for wisdom teeth no longer apply in our day, you should consult with an oral surgeon if you have any concerns over wisdom teeth. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah have experience ranging from basic wisdom teeth removal to more complicated removal of impacted wisdom teeth and more. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, Tooele, and South Jordan. Schedule your free consultation today.