What Are Wisdom Teeth

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

According to the NHS, wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common surgical procedures carried out in the UK. But, what are wisdom teeth and why do people need to have them removed? Read the rest of this short blog to find out…

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth (or the third molars) are simply the last teeth that we develop as adults. They tend to emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Because of this, linguists think they’re called such because individuals are typically “wiser” when they come through, compared to their other teeth.
People tend to have up to 4 (one per quadrant), bringing the total number of adult teeth to 32. According to research, however, about 20-25% of the human population is born with 1-3 wisdom teeth, and 35% is born without any wisdom teeth at all. 
Not sure if you have any or not? Well, not all wisdom teeth emerge, so if yours aren’t visible, they might be under your gums, or just not there at all. An x-ray is able to determine whether they are present or not. 

Why Do We Have Them?

Like most parts of the human body, wisdom teeth have an evolutionary past. Our ancestors had bigger jaws and ate tougher foods (without the use of tools like knives and forks) meaning that they were needed to break down and chew food. Wisdom teeth were hence once beneficial. For us, however, they are more of a hindrance as we have no need or room for them. 

Why Do People Need To Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Now that our jaws are smaller than they once were, these additional four teeth often have little to no space to grow. This means they can grow sideways, emerge at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. In dentistry, these wisdom teeth are described as impacted. Individuals typically get impacted wisdom teeth removed when they are causing pain or other dental problems. A number of different dental problem incurred by wisdom teeth include; crooked or crowded teeth, increased tooth decay and jaw pain. However, many people will grow and keep theirs with no issues. 
To conclude, wisdom teeth are nothing more than extra molars that our ancestors needed to chew food. They are less beneficial to us, due to our smaller jaws, but can be removed by a dentist should any issues arise. Wisdom tooth removal is fairly common and nothing to be apprehensive about. Concerned about yours? Contact our friendly reception team on 01932 582 949 and we can arrange a consultation for you at The Courtyard Clinic. 

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