Uncovering the Mystery of Wisdom Teeth

For many people, wisdom teeth are a bane to their good dental health. They’re often extracted to relieve severe discomfort, and the frequency with which they’re removed may beg the question, why do we grow wisdom teeth in the first place? Although your mouth can function fine without them, the extra set of molars can prove beneficial for those who successfully grow all four of their wisdom teeth without trouble.

Their Purpose

A typical adult mouth contains four types of teeth—incisors, canines, bicuspids (premolars), and molars. Incisors and canines rip and tear your food into manageable chunks, while bicuspids and molars grind the food to prepare it for digestion. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, can provide additional chewing power to reduce the wear and tear on your other teeth. In ancient times, these extra molars were likely necessary to consume a rougher diet of raw meat and vegetation.

Their Problem

These days, with a much more forgiving diet and wider range of options for our meals, the typical adult jawbone can only comfortably accommodate 28 teeth, making the four last molars redundant and frequently troublesome. When your dental ridge doesn’t have enough room for them, your third molars will push against the existing teeth as they try to erupt from your gum line. Known as impacted wisdom teeth, they don’t erupt fully from your gums, or not at all, and can damage your other teeth while pushing them out of alignment. Extracting impacted wisdom teeth may be necessary to preserving your smile’s health and integrity.

Their Potential

Even if your wisdom teeth have to come out, they can still prove beneficial to your future dental or systemic health. According to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the pulp (soft tissue in the middle) of wisdom teeth contain a wealth of cells known as mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) that are used to create stem cells. Scientists believe stem cells may hold the key to unlocking breakthrough regenerative medical treatments, including growing biological replacements for missing adult teeth. The cache of tissues discovered in extracted wisdom teeth can prove invaluable to researchers in their study of adult stem cells and their potential applications.

About Your Grand Prairie Implant Dentist: 

Dr. Quinn Smith is a well-respected and highly experienced general, cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentist in Grand Prairie, TX. He takes a patient-first approach that starts from the moment patients enter our Pecan Tree Dental office, and he offers a three-year guarantee on all dental work that he performs. Whether you’re a new or returning patient, you can schedule a consultation or your next appointment with Dr. Smith by contacting us at (972) 262-5111.