Though permanent teeth finish coming in by the age of 12 or 13, the final set of molars in the human mouth only begin erupting between the ages of 17 and 25. This third set of molars, known as wisdom teeth, often need to be removed. So why do humans have them anyway? Let’s take a look.
Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were useful for our early ancestors, who likely had a diet of tough-to-chew foods such as leaves, nuts, roots, and meat. Wisdom teeth would have particularly aided in the digestion of plant material, as the human digestive system is unable to enzymatically break down the plant cell wall.
Wisdom teeth that aren’t coming in properly may cause jaw pain and stiffness, inflamed gums, and even sinus problems and therefore should be removed. Keep in mind, however, that not experiencing any pain doesn’t mean there is nothing wrong. If you don’t get them looked at, wisdom teeth can cause major problems later on.
It is always better to get wisdom teeth removed sooner rather than later. Wisdom teeth are much easier to extract before their roots are fully formed, allowing for an easier surgery and faster recovery.
A family or general dentist can help determine if wisdom teeth require removal with a dental X-ray. If you or your child are approaching the middle teen years, then it is time to get wise about wisdom teeth. Contact the Calgary dental professionals at Go Dental today to learn about wisdom tooth extraction and if you should be considering it to help ensure good oral health into the adult years.