Despite what some whack jobs say, our distant relatives (not those in Peoria, but those who lived in caves) were around a lot longer than 2,000 years ago. And they didn’t get to go to the local Safeway to pick out dinner. They pretty much ate whatever presented itself, including roots, branches, leaves, nuts, and some meat that was tougher than Tony Soprano. To do so, they used a third set of molars.
Come to the present and those four extra teeth are called wisdom teeth. And, despite the fact that we don’t have to chew our meat for two minutes per bite and draw pictures on the walls of our cave, they still come in. That would be great if they came in like most of our other teeth, straight and aligned with the adjacent teeth, but they come in more crooked than a back room politician. And they push around the other teeth.
So, it’s our job to take out your wisdom teeth at Gentle Dental.
What are they?
Our wisdom teeth are actually categorized as vestigal organs, body parts that have become functionless due to evolution. So, they’re useless. Right in there with our tailbone, appendix, that old VCR, and your Uncle Wally.
When we were going around chewing on tree roots and not watching Bobby Flay smoke ribs, we needed this third set of molars to provide extra chewing power and to combat the excessive wear that our diets put on our teeth. Now, except for the meals we eat at our mother-in-law’s house, our food isn’t very tough, and we don’t need our wisdom teeth.
Why the name?
Why are they called “wisdom teeth”? It’s because when they come in, at the ages of 16 to 25, we are supposed to be more wise. If you have a kid in college, you could dispute that thinking, but that’s where the name comes from.
Problems they cause are dumb
Unlike their name, wisdom teeth cause serious dumb dental problems if you don’t have them removed. Because our jaws aren’t as long as they used to be when wholly mammoths were stepping on us, we don’t have room for a third set of molars anymore. So, when they try to come in they are usually impacted, or blocked, by the other teeth around them. This crowding pushes the other teeth out of position. And when they do erupt food gets trapped in the gum tissue leading to bacteria growth and infection.
Get them out
Very few people can keep their wisdom teeth; they almost always come in at odd angles. Once x-rays start showing the wisdom teeth, it’s usually time to start thinking of getting them out. The best time to get them out is when their roots are only two-thirds formed, when a person is between the ages of 15 and 18.
So, don’t make us question your wisdom by opting to have your teenager keep his or her wisdom teeth. Have our experts at Gentle Dental take them out. Call us at (732) 549-5660 for an appointment.