On average, around five million Americans get their wisdom teeth removed. Keeping these teeth in your mouth can cause a lot of issues such as tooth decay, infection, and tumors. So, why do we have wisdom teeth if they only cause problems?
The human race used to need wisdom teeth to tear up tough foods before we developed the ability to cook and forage, leading us to consume softer foods. Over time, evolution shrank the size of our jaws, but the number of teeth remained the same.
We have twenty-eight teeth until the four wisdom teeth appear on the scene. Wisdom teeth don’t show up until your late teens and early twenties, but at this point, there is no room in your mouth for these teeth. Due to lack of space, wisdom teeth end up getting compacted, decaying and harboring bacteria.
Dentists have begun removing wisdom teeth proactively, but some have questions about this decision. Some people do not have all four wisdom teeth or have a large enough jaw to house them comfortably. Removing them without cause can lead to worse issues such as nerve damage. Always talk to your dentist about what procedure would be best for you and your teeth!