Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery In London
Call us on 020 7935 8627
Main menu Search Search
Our treatments

Why Wisdom Tooth Issues Exist

Mother and child preparing food
Teaching children about our historic diet is useful, although this is no longer part of life for the vast majority of us.

The number of molars we grow is for most populations, not a key factor. Our wisdom teeth were essential when they helped our ancestors make plant tissue edible, grinding away the cellulose we couldn’t digest.

Other foods may have required similar treatment, often uncooked. The appearance of agriculturally based settlements and more cooked food reduced the need for chewing, a position which accelerated.

Modern times have seen a significant increase in the proportion of soft, processed foods we eat. Our jaw size has reduced over time but a genetic tendency to produce the extra molars remains.

The correlation is well researched, aboriginal populations who kept to a traditional diet for longer have fewer wisdom teeth problems, Central American and Celtic populations see far more and tend to have a smaller jaw size.

Neither did all the change take so much time. Bone analysis from the beginning of the industrial revolution to now has identified a tenfold increase in impacted wisdom teeth, with the symptoms they bring quite common.

Secondary Outcomes

We know why wisdom tooth issues exist, essentially lack of space. This can leave a tooth stuck under the gum, or forcing through at an incorrect angle, conditions known as impacted development.

They can cause damage to nerves in the jaw, or unsuitable tissue growth. Oral hygiene becomes more difficult, the fact that wisdom teeth are in general harder to keep clean leads to secondary problems.

Infection of the gum near the wisdom tooth is quite common, called pericoronitis. More standard gum infection (periodontal disease) is a further possibility, which can transfer to surrounding areas.

Pain and sweeling around wisdom teeth is not unusual, in rarer cases, cysts can form. Tooth decay, or abscesses can follow the various side issues, the key point is that wisdom tooth symptoms are not confined to the tooth itself.

Lack Of Treatment

Difficulties caused by wisdom teeth can be immediate, or begin years later. A prime reason they continue, or lead to further oral disease, or decay, is a resistance to seeking professional care.

Research suggests that around 75% of total symptoms could be avoided by prompt treatment. In a number of cases, this will be simply because care is unavailable but denial and avoidance are factors.

Both are understandable, none of us wake up hoping to find a reason for dental treatment. The fact remains that not seeking care is a route to needing more and sound treatment is a safe, not so unpleasant solution.

If wisdom tooth removal is the answer, in specialist hands you will feel no pain and risks are minimised. You and your maxillofacial consultant work together to correct a problem which is essentially an evolutionary blip.

Should you have any concerns on what treatment involves, by all means contact our knowledgeable staff, who will be pleased to offer advice.

Make an Appointment

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.