Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to appear in your mouth, occurring normally 17 and 25 years of age, a time of life called the "Age of Wisdom".
Anthropologists have noted that the rough diet of early humans resulted in the excessive wearing out of their teeth.
The normal drifting of teeth to compensate for this wear and tear ensured that space was available for most wisdom teeth to grow. Modern diet that is considerably softer, and some tooth straightening procedures produce a fuller dental arch, which quite commonly doesn't leave room for the wisdom teeth, thereby setting the stage for problems when they actually start to grow.
The average jaw is made to hold only 28 teeth and can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit into that space! These four other teeth are your third Molars – the famed "wisdom teeth".
Why should I remove my wisdom teeth ?
When wisdom teeth are aligned properly and the gum tissue is healthy, they do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Extraction becomes necessary when they are prevented from properly growing in the mouth - they could grow sideways, partially emerge from the gums and even remain trapped beneath the gums and bone. Such impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to grow.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems - when they grow only partially, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and eventually causes an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the growing wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease surgical risks involved with the procedure.