Wisdom teeth are third molars at the back of the mouth. They are last adult teeth to come in, and usually don’t have enough room to grow. Wisdom teeth are often impacted, meaning they don’t emerge, or only emerge partially. This condition can cause pain or other dental complications, such as crowding other teeth. Wisdom teeth, since they’re difficult to reach and clean properly, are also more vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
Evolutionary biologists classify third molars as vestigial organs, which are parts of the human body that no longer serve a function. Anthropologists believe that our ancestors’ consumption of raw, coarse foods resulted in tooth wear and tooth loss. The third molars, which erupt in late adulthood, allowed for continuation of chewing, and may have even pushed teeth together to fill in gaps from missing teeth.
The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimate that about 85% of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed. Because our jaws are smaller than our ancestors’, we don’t have the same amount of room for wisdom teeth to grow, which results in impaction. Fully or partially erupted wisdom teeth are easily infected, and sometimes, cysts form around the soft tissue. In other words, removing your wisdom teeth even before problems present means a healthier mouth.
Dr. James Huseman and our friendly dental team provide family, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry for all our patients. Noble Creek Family Dentistry offers services to the communities of Noblesville, Fishers, Westfield, and Anderson. Schedule your appointment with our Noblesville dental office today!