Wisdom teeth – why do we have them if they just have to come out? Your Dentist in Epping explains.


One of our patients has kindly volunteered to write her own experience with her wisdom teeth.

Some of us have them, those extra teeth up the back that don’t quite fit. Sometimes they come through when we are teens, other people find them erupting in their 20s.

“My wisdom teeth came through at about 19 years of age. They certainly weren’t designed for my mouth. I felt like I had someone else’s teeth!  Like a lot of you, I took my good time in finally getting to the dentist to have them checked…. Ooops. And I paid for it. By the time I got there I had experienced so many symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth that I was a bit of a walking textbook for it. Swollen gums, pain in adjacent teeth, crumbling teeth, difficulty chewing….

But I did get there, and I did have them out (what was left of them), and I did feel a lot better afterwards (and no, I didn’t get swollen chipmunk cheeks!)”

Here’s some information for you to think about with your wisdom teeth from your dentist in Epping.

So why do we have wisdom teeth? And what do they do? Your Dentist in Epping explains…

“Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, were the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s early diet of coarse, rough food – like leaves, roots, nuts and meats – which required more chewing power and resulted in excessive wear of the teeth. The modern diet with its softer foods, along with marvels of modern technologies such as forks, spoons and knives, has made the need for wisdom teeth non-existent. As a result, evolutionary biologists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs, or body parts that have become functionless due to evolution.”

At your regular appointments, be sure to check with the dentist if you think your wisdom teeth are erupting, moving, or causing you any pain. They will be able to take a look, and ascertain whether it is the right time to do anything about them, or whether they look just fine.

Another change that has occurred over time with these teeth, is that some people will only have one wisdom tooth that grows, whilst others up to four. In rare cases, people have had them removed, and they have grown again! But this is very rare.

Symptoms to look out for that suggest your teeth may be impacted or infected, according to your dentist in Epping…

Some wisdom teeth are fine – they cause no problems – but if you are one of the many who get infected or impacted wisdom teeth, these are the signs to look out for:

  • Redness or swelling in the gums
  • Bleeding or tenderness of the gums
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Bad breath (that you haven’t experienced before)
  • Strange tastes in your mouth that are usually unpleasant
  • Trouble opening your mouth as fully as you were able to previously
  • Pain involved with chewing hard foods
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tooth coming through on an angle, pushing on other teeth


Problems wisdom teeth can create

The main problem wisdom teeth can cause is overcrowding. We don’t all have room for these teeth, so when they form they cause the other teeth to be pushed out of the way and this can cause uneven teeth, as well as new spaces for food to get stuck and cause decay and headaches. Teeth can also rub against your cheeks and cause ulcers.

Should you have any of these symptoms, please call The Dental Place (your dentist in Epping) to make an appointment on 9460 7070.

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