Wisdom Teeth: To Keep or Not to Keep?Jan 01 2021

That is the question.  For most people, the answer is to have them removed.  But why do we have them in the first place if we end up getting them removed?  The answer lies in the past.

Wisdom teeth were actually very useful along time ago.  Early man ate tough meats and roots, for which an extra set of large molars came in handy.  Back then, people had larger jaws that could accommodate more teeth.  These days, with our modern food preparation methods and culturally diverse diets, we do just fine without them.

Because our jaws are smaller than our ancestors', many people no longer have room for these teeth.  This can cause problems when the molars start to grow in--if they even have enough room to erupt in the first place.  In some cases, they can actually grow in sideways and push against the other molars in the back of your mouth.  When this happens, they become impacted, causing pain and sometimes infection.

The best way to know if you will need to have your wisdom teeth, or third molars removed, is to visit your dentist.  There, an x-ray will show where they are and whether or not they are impacted.  For a few lucky people, it will show that they are not there at all.  If an extraction is recommended, rest assured that this simple procedure will only require a few days of recovery time.

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