Wisdom Teeth Removal in Alexandria, VA
Almost everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed when they are young adults. This tooth extraction process is so common that we often don’t even think of it as part of the tooth extraction category.
But what are wisdom teeth, and why do we grow them if we need to take them out later?
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Our teeth all grow in at different times. You can see this in babies as they get incisors before molars, and again in older children and pre-teens as they lose their baby teeth in exchange for permanent adult teeth.
Throughout our lives, we end up growing three sets of permanent molars that come in at regular growth intervals:
- First molars appear at approximately age 6. These are among the first permanent teeth that grow in without replacing a baby tooth.
- Second molars appear at around age 12. These arrive toward the end of the baby tooth replacement process.
- Third molars start coming in at about age 18. These are commonly called wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth have long been considered a sign of physical adulthood, and signal the end of your childhood dental development.
Why Do We Need Our Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
This is a great question, and the truth is that we didn’t always need this procedure. In fact, humans much earlier in history would have depended on these wisdom teeth to extend their lifespans.
In those times, your dental health would directly affect how long you could live. We see the same thing in many animal species. When the teeth wear out, the lifespan of that creature comes to a quick end due to the inability to eat necessary foods.
This means that—back in ancient times—the arrival of wisdom teeth could be a literal lifesaver.
However, over the years our ability to process foods has increased to an astounding level. The same is true about our medical knowledge, our ability to care for the elderly, and our ability to keep teeth healthy. These days, our lifespans aren’t dependent on our teeth to nearly the same degree.
As a result, our jaws have started to get smaller and smaller. Some individuals don’t even grow wisdom teeth at all. And with smaller jaws, we just can’t fit those extra teeth in our mouths without severe overcrowding and impaction.
See our Tooth Extraction page for more information on these conditions.
Wisdom Tooth Removal at Mt. Vernon Center for Dentistry
Wisdom tooth removal is a very common and safe procedure. We want you to be totally confident in your care, during the entire treatment process. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to talk to us today.