The removal of the wisdom teeth is often considered a sort of rite of passage for young adults. However, not everyone goes through this surgery. Some individuals choose to keep their third molars because they are not currently posing a threat to their oral health. Other people never develop wisdom teeth! Why is that the case, and how can you tell if you have wisdom teeth? Let’s talk about this important topic.
Why Do Some People Never Get Their Wisdom Teeth?
It’s difficult to say how many people do not have wisdom teeth. Data on the subject is somewhat broad, with one estimate from the Dental Research Journal stating that 5 – 37% of people are missing one or more of their third molars.
There are a few possible reasons why some people never develop their wisdom teeth. The most common may be genetics. A widely accepted theory states that humanity’s ancient ancestors needed a third set of molars to help them consume their rough diet. Now, humans tend to eat foods that are easier to consume. Therefore, the human genome may be adapting to the fact that the third molars are no longer necessary.
Other factors that might contribute to a lack of wisdom teeth include diet, environment, and chewing function.
Do You Have Wisdom Teeth?
Often, people with wisdom teeth can feel them at the back of their mouth. If you run your tongue along your teeth and don’t feel your third molars, however, that doesn’t mean you don’t have them. Often, they get stuck beneath the gumline (impacted).
To find out if you have wisdom teeth, you should visit your dentist. A routine X-Ray can easily reveal whether you have these teeth, as well as how many of them you have. Most people have four, but some have just one. Others can develop five or more.
If you are a teenager or young adult and do not yet have your wisdom teeth, regular dental visits are particularly important. If and when your third molars develop, your dentist will be able to monitor them and recommend appropriate treatment if it appears that they are posing a significant threat to your oral health.
The Importance of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Some people can keep their wisdom teeth for a lifetime and not suffer any adverse consequences because of it. Most people, though, should get them removed. Failure to do so can increase your risk of a number of problems, including dental decay, a misaligned bite, TMJ disorder, cysts, and infections.
Not everyone has wisdom teeth. For those who do, however, monitoring these third molars is vital. Failure to do so could have dire consequences for your oral health!
Meet the Practice
The three board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons in our practice are experienced at removing wisdom teeth. We provide expert care in a welcoming environment, and sedation is available to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. If you are concerned that your wisdom teeth may be threatening your oral health, we would be pleased to consult with you. Contact our office at 713-783-5560.