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Does Everyone Need Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom tooth extraction has become a normal and expected part of growing up. But does everyone actually need to have these teeth removed? Not technically, but they often develop problems that make it wise to remove them.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are also called third molars because they’re another molar (large grinding tooth) that comes in behind your first and second molar.

Wisdom teeth earned their nickname because they tend to come in about the time that kids are leaving childhood behind and starting to become adults, usually during the late teens and early twenties. But wisdom teeth are actually remnants of our distant past.

Thousands of years ago, before people started cooking and processing most of their food, it took a lot more work to eat. This caused our jaw muscles to work, our jaw to grow, and our teeth to wear out. At this time, people only lived to be about 25-35 years of age, but by that time they needed another set of molars to ensure they would be able to continue to eat. Our longest-lived ancestors typically only lived to be around age 50, and by that time they often had only one or two teeth left, so they definitely needed their wisdom teeth.

Today, though, we take much better care of our teeth, and our jaws don’t grow as large, so the extra molars can cause problems.

When You Need a Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Although not everyone needs a wisdom tooth extraction, it may be recommended for many reasons:

  • The third molar can hit the second molar (become impacted)
  • Can cause crowding
  • Can be hard to clean or make it hard to clean second molar
  • Can interfere with bite

We might recommend removing your wisdom teeth at three different stages. If your family has a history of impacted wisdom teeth, it might be best to move them early. We might also recommend that they be removed when it’s clear they will become impacted. We might also recommend removing them once they are impacted, causing negative effects on the rest of your teeth. Studies have shown benefits of wisdom tooth extraction even if there are few symptoms.

If you want to be evaluated for wisdom tooth extraction, please call 619-299-5925 for an appointment with a San Diego Dentist at Strober Dental today.