Why Humans Have Wisdom Teeth
You will have three sets of molars in your lifetime. The first set erupt around age 6, the second set come in around ate 13, and third molars arrive in the late teens and early twenties. Most people have a total of 12 molars, but with our modern diet, we don’t need the third molars (wisdom teeth). Now, we don’t eat bark, seeds, and roots as our ancient ancestors did. Instead, we eat foods like bread, cheese, and cooked or peeled vegetables, which do not require as much mastication (chewing). This soft diet has influenced the human mandible (jaw) to shorten and become smaller over time, so we have less room for third molars.
Why We Remove Third Molars
Wisdom teeth may become impacted, or lodged in the jaw, unable to erupt. Because the teeth are so far back in the mouth, they are difficult to brush and floss, so cavities and infection are common. Some people experience pain when their wisdom teeth move or shift, and this movement can occur throughout life. Crowding is another problem. Because our mouths are too small for third molars, when the teeth fully develop, they force other teeth out of alignment.
Wisdom tooth extraction is best performed when a patients is in his late teens or early twenties. Third molars can be removed even if they have not erupted. Removing wisdom teeth before problems occur is a common practice, but more and more, people are keeping their wisdom teeth and only undergoing extraction if necessary. Keep in mind, though, the older the patient, the more difficult the procedure and recovery may be.
If you’re undecided about wisdom tooth extraction for yourself or your child, talk with Dr. Young. He can provide you with information to help you make the right decision for your situation.
An Invitation Just for You
Call Dr. Michael Young, DDS at (337) 23-SMILE to schedule your checkup, consultation, or second-opinion visit. Our Lafayette dentist office serves patients from the Youngsville, Broussard, Scott, Breaux Bridge , and surrounding communities. We are open Monday through Friday, and Dr. Young is always available to see dental emergency cases.