What’s Up With Wisdom Teeth?

If you’ve already had your wisdom teeth taken out, or they’re starting to come in, you know that impacted wisdom teeth can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. If you don’t get surgery, the pain will only continue and worsen. However, it can also be uncomfortable and painful even when your wisdom teeth are coming in without any complications. Some people go through their entire lives without needing any surgery for their wisdom teeth, they come in strong and healthy without causing any jaw problems. So how do you know when you need to finally make that trip to the dentist and get it checked out?

Wisdom teeth are the third permanent molars found at the back of the mouth. Usually, they don’t come out until around age 18. It’s common for wisdom teeth to be unable to come out fully due to insufficient space in the jaw, causing extreme pain. This is what is referred to as impacted wisdom teeth. Even though there isn’t enough space in the jaw for the extra teeth, your body will still try to shove them up and out through the gums. If you do develop impacted wisdom teeth, you’ll want to look up a dentist for wisdom tooth surgery in Singapore asap. It may seem completely ridiculous that our bodies would cause us so much trouble, but there’s a good reason for it.

Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth developed through evolution in response to our ancestors’ diet. Before the wonderful development of cooking our food, our ancestors primarily consumed raw leaves, roots, nuts and meat. These foods were tough and coarse, and as a result, chewing them enough for digestion required more mastication. Masticating, or chewing, these foods wore down the teeth. The wisdom teeth would come out between 18-25 in order to keep the mouth in working order, and there was plenty of room among the worn down teeth for these new arrivals. 

Our jaws no longer have room for these teeth due to the generally softer foods of the modern diet. Also we no longer have to rip, tear, or break down our food as much as we once did thanks to forks, knives, and cooking. Thanks to these advancements, our jaws are smaller now then they once were, and there’s often no longer enough room, nor a valid necessity, for more teeth. Because of this, wisdom teeth have now been deemed vestigial, meaning they no longer have any function.

If your Wisdom teeth begin to erupt from the gums they are often blocked by the other teeth around them. Unfortunately, this causes painful shifting of the teeth as they try to crowd in along the jaw. Even if the wisdom teeth are able to partially come out, food can get trapped in the gum tissue surrounding it which can cause the growth of bacteria and even serious infections. If your wisdom teeth stay safe and sound within the gums, they can still cause problems such as the displacement of current teeth or cysts in the mouth that can result in damage to the jaw or the other teeth.

If you’re experiencing any pain or discomfort in the back of your jaw, give your dentist a call. It might be better to be safe than sorry. Plus the younger you are when you have your wisdom teeth removed, the lower the risk of future problems, complications, and a more optimal recovery. The generally understood best time to have your wisdom teeth removed is from 15-18, but any time in your early 20’s will still be beneficial to the healing process. Don’t get stuck eating soup and milkshakes for week, head to your dentist and see if your wisdom teeth can be removed, before it hurts so bad you have to.