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Why are they called wisdom teeth and Why do they cause so many problems?

Wisdom teeth are third molars that appear in adolescence and early adulthood and often cause problems that need to be removed. Common problems associated with wisdom teeth include infections, blockages, crowding of the teeth, and pain.

Problematic wisdom teeth occur so often that their extraction has become a routine procedure. In fact, it is one of the most common oral cavity surgeries today.

Why do we have wisdom teeth if we don't need them?

The emergence of third molars is a relic of the past, when people had to chew increasingly hard foods, such as raw meat and roots. Back then, people needed stronger teeth and were more prone to losing them. This means that there has always been a need and a place for third molars. Today, with better dental care and a diet that has evolved into softer, easier to digest foods, wisdom teeth simply need to be gone.

Man at dental office

Why do wisdom teeth cause so many problems?

Third molars cause problems when there isn't enough room for them to come out completely. As modern humans have taken shape, our overall structure has changed. Over time, the jaw has become smaller and the 32 teeth no longer fit properly. 

Wisdom teeth can be crooked or partially cut. 

This leads to crowding of the rest of the teeth, a painful side effect that may require orthodontic treatment later. And when teeth erupt partially, laterally, or do not come out at all under the gums, food particles and bacteria can easily collect under the gum flap. These teeth are so far in the mouth that it can be difficult to keep them healthy. 

It quickly leads to infection - and the classic wisdom tooth pain that sends you straight to the dentist.

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Surgery to remove wisdom teeth

Surgery to remove wisdom teeth is a procedure that is usually performed by a dentist or dental surgeon. The dentist will recommend this surgery if the exam and x-rays show that your wisdom teeth are damaged or may cause you dental problems in the future. The surgeon cuts the gum tissue and removes the tooth in whole or in part. The patient is under anesthesia, which may include laughing gas or intravenous sedation.

Surgery to remove a wisdom tooth before the age of 20 is usually easier than surgery at a later age. While age doesn't preclude wisdom tooth extraction, it can make things more difficult. In young people, the roots of the teeth are not fully formed, so they are easier to remove and heal faster. As we age, the roots become longer, curved, and more difficult to extract.


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