Some people get their wisdom teeth, others don’t. Those who do usually have to have them removed for one reason or another. Why do we have to cope with wisdom teeth at all? Wisdom teeth are actually just another set of molars meant to be used for the serious chewing of the food that we eat.

Prehistorians have told us that this third set of molars that we call “wisdom teeth” were originally necessary to grind up the tough roots and raw meats that our ancestors used to eat. Fortunately today’s diets are made up of tastier foods that we cook and tenderize for easier chewing and meat is not the staple that it used to be. Vegetables are a much larger part of our nutrition.

We don’t know why wisdom teeth didn’t just disappear as man evolved, but they didn’t – at least not for everyone. Some lucky folks get their wisdom teeth and suffer no complications, but that is not the norm. Most of us have to deal with the trauma of an impacted wisdom tooth or one that has erupted only some of the way. Infections are a definite risk and extraction is usually necessary. Some cases require more extensive oral surgery which can be expensive and require recovery time.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore a problem with your wisdom teeth. Usually you won’t be able to since the symptoms can be extremely painful, but even wisdom teeth that seem to be causing no immediate problems can be vulnerable to disease merely due to their position in the far back of the mouth. They will be harder to reach with a toothbrush and awkward to floss, so they may not get the attention that they need. See your dentist as soon as you realize that a wisdom tooth is trying to erupt to make sure things are progressing as they should.

Spokane Valley Dentistry is concerned with providing patients with the best of care and informative counseling. New patients are welcome to call for an appointment @ 509-926-6261.