Why Do We Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Why Do We Remove Wisdom Teeth?

If you have ever experienced wisdom tooth pain, you know it is no joke! Have you ever wondered why we even have them in the first place? Though these extra teeth seem pointless today, they once had a purpose.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars humans develop, typically during their late teens or early twenties. These are the last teeth that come in for humans, and they are in the far back of the mouth. Most people have theirs removed because they can cause pain when they grow in at the wrong angle or a person does not have enough room for them. Often, the teeth grow near roots, which can be dangerous and cause more issues down the road. 

Why Do We Have Them? 

At one point in the evolution of humans, wisdom teeth had a purpose. Our ancestors used these third molars to break down tough, uncooked plants. These extra teeth were necessary for survival. As we evolved and learned how to cook our food, we no longer required third molars. After a while, our jaws adapted to our new diets and became smaller. Some people do not even develop them, though roughly half of adults will develop at least one wisdom tooth.

Signs You Need Yours Removed

Not everybody needs their wisdom teeth removed. Some people have enough room for their third molars, and they develop just their other teeth. For others, the third molars come with pain and complications. Your dentist can help you determine if you should remove your wisdom teeth, though if you experience any of these issues, speak with your dentist about wisdom tooth removal right away:

  • Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums near the tooth
  • Jaw pain, swelling, or stiffness
  • Difficulties opening your mouth
  • A bad taste in your mouth or bad breath

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think the cause may be your third molars, you need to see a dentist. Book an appointment at Foothill Dental Care’s Livermore office. Give us a call at (925) 961-5484.

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