Ever wonder why third molars are called “wisdom” teeth? These teeth usually erupt at 17–21 years of age, a time when young adults are gaining the wisdom that they need for their adult years.
And why do so many people need to have third molars extracted? We can thank evolution and science. During certain eras in the evolution of man (and woman), most humans’ jaws could accommodate these teeth, but now, wisdom teeth are often extracted since overall jaw size of modern man has become smaller. Plus, contemporary dental care helps people to retain healthier teeth for a longer time, so we now experience less permanent tooth loss, and with that, less available spaces to accommodate potentially forward-drifting third molars. Simply put, we’re keeping more of our teeth longer—the trade-off may be that we can’t hold on to our third molars.
Even though we’ve gained a healthier dentition overall, no one is happy about the idea of having their wisdom teeth removed. But there are valid reasons why these molars need to come out—and there are ways to make the process less complicated and more successful.
Here’s a great article by Oral Surgeon Dr. Bruce Cohen which answers many questions that patients typically pose to their dentists. It covers many aspects of the “why and how“ of the third molar removal and the technology, including CBCT scanning, that gives doctors an exact look in a patient’s anatomy so there are no surprises during surgery.
For more information on 3D cone beam systems, and other dental imaging solutions, visit the Gendex website.