If you’ve ever experienced wisdom tooth pain, you have probably wondered why we have them in the first place. Though wisdom teeth seem pointless today, they weren’t always just a pain in the mouth.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that humans develop, usually during their late teens or early twenties. They are the last teeth to come in and sit at the far back of the mouth.
Many adults have theirs removed because they cause pain. When they come in at the wrong angle or a person doesn’t have enough room to accommodate them, the teeth need to be removed.
Why Do We Have Them?
Believe it or not, wisdom teeth used to serve a purpose. Our ancestors used their third molars to break down tough, uncooked plants. They relied on the extra teeth to survive.
However, as humans evolved and learned how to make food softer through cooking and other means, the need for third molars disappeared. Over time, our jaws adjusted to our new diets and became smaller.
As wisdom teeth, or third molars, became obsolete, some people stopped developing them. Around half of all adults still develop at least one wisdom tooth, but many people are missing one or more third molars.
Signs You Need Yours Removed
Not everybody needs their wisdom teeth removed. Some people have plenty of room for third molars and they develop just like all the other teeth. For others, the third molars mean pain and other complications.
Only your dentist can determine if you need your wisdom teeth removed. However, if you experience any of these issues, you should speak with your dentist about wisdom tooth removal soon:
- Swollen, tender, or bleeding gums at the back of your mouth
- Jaw pain, swelling, or stiffness
- Problems opening your mouth
- A persistent, unpleasant taste in your mouth and/or bad breath
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect your third molars could be causing them, you need to see a dentist. Book an appointment with the Jefferson Dental & Orthodontics office nearest you.