Wisdom Teeth 101: Why Do Wisdom Teeth Get Removed?

The mention of wisdom teeth may send some into fearful panic, but we’re here to explain the ins and outs of wisdom teeth removal. Giving you all the info you need will help you make an informed decision on your wisdom teeth!

While wisdom teeth removal is a very common dental procedure for young adults, not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth out. Here, we explain what exactly are wisdom teeth, why some people need to have them removed and why some lucky ones get to keep theirs in.


What exactly are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are usually located at the very back of our mouths. Dentists refer to them as 3rd molars.

These teeth can present very differently across various people. In some people, they may grow out perfectly fine and well aligned, whereas for other people it may grow at nasty angles causing food impaction, infection and damaging to the neighboring teeth. There are even people who naturally have NO wisdom teeth!

Whether or not they’re giving you any trouble, we highly recommend that all adults get their wisdom teeth checked out. The easiest way to do this is with an X-ray. X-rays allow us to see the entire wisdom tooth, regardless if they’re hiding underneath your gums. From your X-ray, our dentists can assess how healthy your wisdom teeth are and analyse the options that are right for you.

All comprehensive dental examinations at Whitehorse Dental include a wisdom teeth assessment. Book your appointment online with us today!


Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

There’s a common hypothesis among scientists and dentists that wisdom teeth are on their way out in terms of human evolution.

An example to illustrate this is looking at gorillas and monkeys. The further back you go in their jaws, the bigger the molar teeth get. Therefore in nature, wisdom teeth (the 3rd molars) are the largest teeth. This allows animals to chew coarse raw foods properly.

However in humans, 3rd molars are the smallest molars in our mouths. When comparing to the likes of monkeys and gorillas, our modern diet is much softer than the coarse grains, nuts and insects that they would naturally eat. Because our food is much softer, we no longer rely on our 3rd molars to chew any coarse foods. Over time, this has resulted in them growing smaller, and for some people they don’t grow at all!

Another side effect of a softer diet is that our jaws simply don’t grow long enough to fit these once important teeth. This is why it’s becoming more common for them to be growing sideways, be impacted or not grow through at all. When the wisdom teeth don’t grow through, they’re still present but stuck underneath the bone or gum. In some cases, people may think that they didn’t grow them at all, but in actual fact they are hiding!

Because wisdom teeth can’t always be seen, people often don’t take action on removal until it becomes too painful. Why wait until you’re suffering? We think that it’s much better to tackle any issues as early as possible before they cause any unnecessary pain or discomfort.


Does everyone need their wisdom teeth removed?

No, not at all! There are some lucky people who’s wisdom teeth grow out nice and straight and are in a position that is easy to clean. For these people, they can keep their wisdom teeth in! To maintain happy and healthy wisdom teeth, they need to be brushed all the way to the back to keep them in tip top condition.

Our dentists will certainly tell you if you don’t need your wisdom teeth removed. We will also teach you how to clean your wisdom teeth properly so they don’t get problems in the future.

The best way to make the decision whether to keep your wisdom teeth or to remove them is with a dental examination to find out how they’re going. At Whitehorse Dental, we like to encourage this preventative approach to wisdom teeth rather than “waiting and seeing” how they go. We hate to see people struggle with preventable pain, so a quick dental exam will give you all the answers you need on your wisdom teeth.

Avoid pain. Take the preventative approach to wisdom teeth removal and contact Whitehorse Dental today.