Why Do Some Wisdom Teeth Need to Come Out of Your Mouth?
Posted on 10/15/2019 by Dr. Brandon Cooley
While most of our permanent teeth grow after our deciduous (baby) teeth fall out, four teeth appear later in life, in the back of our mouths. These are our wisdom teeth, so-called because they grow when we are older and, presumably, wiser.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Our forebears had larger jaws, and enough space to hold this extra set of teeth. Since mapping the human genome, scientists have identified a mutation in gene MYH16 as the likely culprit for the change in our jaw size. This mutation also had advantages for us, and so those with the mutation “won out”, and the average person's jaw today is too small to accommodate our wisdom teeth. This is a relatively recent development in the history of human evolution, and so dentition has not yet “caught up” to our new jaw size. Some people living today do have jaws large enough to house these teeth, and some humans are born without any wisdom teeth at all!
Those without enough room in their mouths for wisdom teeth will experience something called “crowding”. This is when the other teeth in the mouth are slowly pushed forward, becoming crooked and, sometimes, even cracking. Wisdom teeth are mainly removed to solve this problem, but there are a host of other issues wisdom teeth can cause (they are often difficult to reach when flossing and brushing, which can lead to cavities; they can change a person's bite, leading to pain in the jaw; they can remain impacted within the gum, causing inflammation, pain, and infection).
When your wisdom teeth begin growing, it is important to visit with our dentists to consult on the best route for your oral health. Some wisdom teeth do not require removal, but most do. The decision should be made with the help of our dentists.