In late high school and early college, you couldn’t go more than a week without hearing someone talk about getting their wisdom teeth removed. It seemed like a rite of passage you had to experience in order to fully become an adult. As the years went on, you never felt the wisdom tooth pain that your friends said they felt. You started to wonder if you even had wisdom teeth at all. Do some people just not have wisdom teeth? Keep reading to find out whether everyone needs wisdom tooth extractions in Waco.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the teeth located farthest back in your mouth, usually with one in each corner. They typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 21, which is why it’s fairly common for young adults to get them removed.
While no one knows the purpose of wisdom teeth, one prevailing theory is that they served as replacement teeth for early humans. Back then, we chewed much tougher foods and didn’t practice oral hygiene as efficiently. As a result, people were more likely to lose other teeth, allowing the third molars to take over from there.
Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?
Nope! In fact, it’s estimated that anywhere from 5 to 37 percent of people never develop one or more of their wisdom teeth. The exact reason for this is unknown, but genetics are strongly believed to play a role. So, if one of your parents is missing their wisdom teeth, you might never develop them either.
It’s worth noting that just because you can’t see your wisdom teeth doesn’t mean they’re not there. Sometimes, they can become impacted, or stuck in the gums. In this case, your dentist in Waco may detect these teeth with an x-ray and decide whether they should be extracted.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Often Have to Be Removed?
Contrary to what you may have heard, not all wisdom teeth have to be removed. If the teeth are fully erupted and able to be cleaned daily, they might not present a problem at all.
However, there often isn’t room in the mouth for them to properly grown in. This can cause the third molars to painfully crowd against other teeth. They’re also more likely to become impacted, which increases the risk of gum infections. Because they’re located so far back in the mouth, some people have a hard time brushing and flossing them, leading to cavities and gum disease in the area.
Ultimately, only your dentist can determine whether you have wisdom teeth and if they need to be removed. If you haven’t had yours taken out, make sure to attend dental checkups on a regular basis. That way, your dentist can check yours and see whether extracting them is the best option for your oral health.
About the Author
Dr. Rick Cofer earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Baylor College of Dentistry. He has been associated with Texas Advanced Dental Seminars and the Seattle Study Club for several years. Due to his advanced training, he is qualified to perform tooth extractions in Waco, including wisdom tooth extractions. To find out whether you have them or need them removed, you can contact Dr. Cofer’s practice at (254) 732-0309.