Purpose of Wisdom Teeth

Purpose of Wisdom TeethAccording to the American Dental Association, four out of five people need their wisdom teeth extracted. Wisdom teeth, which generally appear in a person’s teens or early 20s, might be considered vestigial. The tough foods our ancestors once ate often wore down their molars. They often lost their teeth early, and the extra set of molars that erupted in mid-life would allow them to continue to eat comfortably. Today, we cook our foods, which results in improved tooth longevity, and increased access to dental care has given us the tools we need to preserve our teeth.


When wisdom teeth erupt today, they can often cause numerous dental health problems. For many people, the eruption of wisdom teeth is accompanied by pain. The jawbone has usually reached its adult size when the wisdom teeth erupt, which means they must push through this hardened bone. They can push against other teeth, erupt sideways or only partially erupt. These teeth, which may be called impacted wisdom teeth, tend to irritate the soft tissues of the mouth. They can accumulate debris, and because they are difficult to reach, they can be more prone to tooth decay and infection. They can even push your other teeth out of alignment and increase the risk of crowding.


Our Northridge dentist may recommend having your wisdom teeth extracted before they begin to cause problems. Extraction is usually a simple procedure that can be performed with local anesthesia. If you are nervous or anxious, you may also benefit from a mild sedative during your procedure. Give us a call to learn more or to schedule your consultation.

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