Do All People Have Wisdom Teeth?

Let us gain a little wisdom on wisdom teeth.

Most people anticipate the eruption of their wisdom teeth throughout their late adolescent to early adult years. But what if they never erupt?

It is strange but true that many people don’t have any wisdom teeth at all. In fact, according to the Dental Research Journal, about 37% of people across the globe are born without a wisdom tooth or teeth. While a large set of population blames their genetic combinations for the lack of wisdom teeth, the real reason behind the absence of the same is unknown.

To understand why this happens, we must first learn what a wisdom tooth is.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

In Layman’s terms, wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located in the back of your mouth. These third sets of molars usually erupt during the early years of your adulthood. These are typically four in number, and their eruptions in your mouth, can either be non-impacted or impacted.

But why are they named “Wisdom Teeth”? Ironically as it sounds, wisdom teeth won’t make you any smarter. However, the real reason why they are called wisdom teeth is that these last sets of molars erupt at a more mature period of a person’s life, that is, between the ages of 17 and 21.

Hence, to complete your set of 32 permanent adult teeth, two of these late molars are positioned on the top of the teeth, and two on the bottom. Although these wisdom teeth will not necessarily cause pain, they should not be ignored. However, during their first arrival into your mouth, you may sense a tad bit of discomfort while performing bite functions with your new set of teeth.

What are the Functions of Wisdom Teeth?

Do we really need wisdom teeth?

Although the purpose of wisdom teeth is to perform the above-mentioned functions, research studies have concluded that “wisdom teeth” has become vestigial organs (functionless due to evolution).

So, why are your third set of molars classified as “vestigial organs”? this is because, initially, during the prehistoric era, people needed their wisdom teeth to help them bite and chew uncooked food (vegetables and meat).

But, with the progression of evolution, the dietary habits of people changed, and they began consuming soft and cooked food. Hence, owing to evolution, wisdom teeth have succumbed to becoming a mere functionless and useless organ i.e., a vestigial organ.

What are the Problems caused by Wisdom Teeth?

Before we begin to comprehend the problems caused by an impacted wisdom tooth, we must first understand what impacted wisdom teeth are, and how are they different from non-impacted wisdom teeth.

A non-impacted wisdom tooth refers to the complete non-problematic eruption of the molars, i.e., above the gum line. Although non-impacted wisdom teeth are virtually harmless to your oral health, our dentist recommends removing them, to prevent any infections in the future.

Contrary to this, impacted wisdom teeth remain within the jaw, resulting in complications to your dental health. Since these molars are stuck below the surface of your gums, they can develop at a crooked angle, increasing the complications associated with it.

Let us look at some of the problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth:

Pain

Pain is the first and foremost indication of an impacted wisdom tooth. While the tooth itself will cause you tremendous pain, the neighbouring teeth and their roots will also be inflicted with chronic and sharp pain.

Lack of Dental Care

Due to the oncoming pain in your teeth, you will be unable to maintain your oral health. According to reports furnished by the National Institutes of Health, ill-maintained oral hygiene acts as a breeding ground for over 700 kinds of bacteria, and subsequently an increased risk of infection. Isn't that a lot?

Pericoronitis

If you thought getting infections were bad enough, imagine being prone to a variety of gum diseases like pericoronitis. Moreover, when people are unable to observe regular dental care due to an impacted wisdom tooth, they are also exposed to the risk of nerve damage.

Damage to the Neighbouring Teeth

If you thought getting infections were bad enough, imagine being prone to a variety of gum diseases like pericoronitis. Moreover, when people are unable to observe regular dental care due to an impacted wisdom tooth, they are also exposed to the risk of nerve damage.

Now, doesn’t it feel better to not have wisdom teeth in the first place?

Why don’t some people have wisdom teeth?

Since we’re on the subject, let’s try to figure out why some people don’t have any wisdom teeth at all.

Believe it or not, some people are born without a complete set of teeth. But why? Well, since wisdom teeth have been deemed as vestigial organs, our bodies have naturally evolved away from them.

Due to the evolution of the environment, our lifestyles, and dietary habits, our jawbones have organically decreased in size. However, when these molars emerge, they are erupted only partially, thus imposing a whole new set of problems for you.

Hence, our oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction as the best course of treatment, to avoid further damage to your dental health.

When do I need to see a doctor?

You may need to see a dentist if you face any of the following issues:

Tooth Ache

Pain emerging from the back of the mouth is a major sign that you may have an impacted wisdom tooth. Initially, your pain might start as mild, but gradually it can increase to a level that maybe the out of your pain threshold. This is when you’d know that it is time to book an appointment with your dentist.

Redness & Swelling

Added to the pain, you will also begin experiencing swelling in the gum line surrounding your third molars. Along with the swelling, you may also witness redness around the impacted tooth. A combination of these factors will increase your pain by two folds.

Impacted Tooth

The impacted tooth when trapped beneath the gumline, will begin to trigger an array of problems to your teeth and jawbone. For instance, the non-emergence of the wisdom tooth may cause a cyst to develop in the back of your mouth.

Oral Infections

In some cases, when a wisdom tooth emerges into your mouth, the following eruption might be characterized as an unhealthy eruption. This may be because these molars can help multiply the growth of bacteria in your gums, and neighbouring healthy teeth. It may also lead to nerve damage.

Cavities

As a result of bacteria breeding in your mouth, you may experience severe pain which forces you to abandon your oral hygiene. This causes a cycle of repercussions to your oral health like bad breath, jaw tenderness, foul taste in the mouth, and cavities.

Shifting Teeth

The emergence of a new set of molars (the wisdom teeth) during the early stages of your adult life, can generate a series of misalignment problems. This is because, when your teeth have been positioned in the same manner for all these years, the delayed arrival of new teeth might cause your existing teeth to shift out of place (or become crooked).

In conclusion…

If you have a wisdom tooth, irrespective of its type (impacted or non-impacted), you need to get it extracted as early as possible. Keep in mind that since wisdom tooth extraction involves oral surgery, it can become a bothersome dental procedure if it is delayed.

However, if you are fortunate enough to be born without wisdom teeth, you can be easily exempted from the trials and tribulations of having a wisdom tooth, or the cumbersome process of extracting them.

Regardless of your dental situation, you should always have a routine dental check-up with your dentist, to monitor the health of your teeth and avoid any need for extractions in the future.

Should you need to get your problematic molars extracted anytime soon, check out our website and book your appointment today!

Our expert maxillofacial and oral surgeons will help you to get your wisdom teeth removed and relieve you of your pain.

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