NEWSLETTER ISSUE 7 – JULY 2021 – Discover 5 interesting truths about wisdom teeth

Third molars more commonly known as “wisdom teeth” is a part of a normal group of teeth that naturally develop along with the rest of the body. It usually develops from inside of your jaw at the very back at around the age of 12 and then breaks through the gum between the ages of 15-18 although this can vary significantly.

Human body structures are ever evolving over tens of thousands of years and scientists believe that we are getting a larger head but smaller jaws and less number of teeth. We are caught in an evolutionary cycle where there is a mismatch between the jaw size and the number of teeth. This resulted in us having too many teeth for the size of the jaw we have.

There are other reasons such as environmental factors, where some researchers believe that our jaw sizes have shrunk significantly due to increase in processed foods and allergies since the industrial revolution.

This unfortunately results in wisdom teeth, not coming out straight and being impacted against other teeth and never fully erupting through the gum.

Do you always need to remove your wisdom teeth?

Simple answer is No. If there is enough space in the jaw to allow the wisdom teeth to erupt straight AND there is enough room for proper hygiene measures, then intervention is not required.

However, research suggests that approximately 70 –  80% of the population will have wisdom teeth issues at some point in their lives.

So how do I know I need to remove my wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth can come out many different ways. Any sort of impaction, can cause

  1. Large gaps – food trap
  2. Decay  – difficult to clean
  3. Severe gum infection (pericoronitis)
  4. damage to teeth nearby – decay or resorp

What do I do?

It is always best to prevent it rather than look for a cure.

As previously mentioned, wisdom teeth are already developing inside the jaw around the age of 12. Best time to assess whether we need to intervene is around the age of 15 to 16.
At this stage, we take an X-ray image of the whole jaw to see how the wisdom teeth will grow and whether there will be enough room to accommodate the wisdom tooth. If you are already older, then this does not necessarily mean you are in trouble. We can still carefully assess the situation and provide the right care to avoid bigger issues in the future.

What is the treatment?

Most likely the wisdom teeth will need to be removed. It can be quite daunting for most people, but you will be surprised that in most cases, wisdom teeth removal is a very simple and quick procedure that can be done simply in the chair under local anaesthesia. There are more complicated cases where it may take longer, but we can always present you with the best and easiest solution to the problems.

If you are concerned about your wisdom teeth, please feel free to contact us for more information.

Interesting dentistry facts:

Some of the most noticeable changes in the evolution of the genus Homo (which includes ourselves and our extinct close relatives) have been in the dentition and the jaws which support them. In general, living people have smaller teeth and less robust jaws than people living 25,000 years ago.

Neanderthals, from perhaps 120,000 and becoming extinct in Europe after 30,000 years ago, had particularly large incisor and canine teeth, together with a number of other unique dental features. The oldest British hominin fossil teeth, at about 500,000 years ago, from the Boxgrove site in Sussex, were larger still.

Interesting dentistry facts

  • Third molars are called ‘wisdom teeth’ because we should be wiser by the time they appear. But hold on, it does not mean you are no longer wise when they taken out!
  • 5% of Australians have lost every tooth
  • Kissing a donkey was a Middle Age remedy for toothache. Can you guess why?
  • Believe it or not, blue brushes are way more popular in the household than red brushes.

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