Do I Have To Get My Wisdom Teeth Out?


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Mandy Noethe, Features Writer

Almost every teenager, at some point, has to go through the nightmare known as wisdom teeth removal. Although there are some lucky people (such as myself) who will never need theirs removed, its still very frightening to think about. Getting your wisdom teeth out is almost a rite of passage for teenagers – especially when your parents take a video of you afterwards, when you’re under the influence of laughing gas, and post it on Facebook for all the world to see.

Wisdom teeth often come in around the age of 17-25. Since this is the age that most people mentally and physically mature, they have been nicknamed “wisdom” teeth. When wisdom teeth require removal, it is often because they are misaligned. Often times, they will be positioned horizontally, which means they are cutting into other teeth, the jaw line, or even the nerves – ouch. The wisdom teeth are actually the hardest substances in the entire human body, which is ironic, because many times they can “erupt”. They are enclosed within soft tissue, so if they are impacted enough, it will cause a partial eruption to occur, in which bacteria will be allowed to come in. This makes the tooth to be more prone to an infection of sorts.

The wisdom tooth does have many important functions. It can affect the way a person talks sometimes, and can be a valuable asset when eating. Evolutionary biologists have classified them as vestigial organs, which basically means that have become functionless due to evolution. They used to be more useful when silverware didn’t exist, and we needed the extra tug with our chewing. However, they cause many problems when there isn’t enough room for them in your mouth. Usually a person will have room for about 32 teeth in their mouth, but when wisdom teeth come in, there has to be room for 36, which is another reason why they have to be removed.

Wisdom teeth, although extremely painful at times, can be interesting to learn about, and even useful if you’re lucky enough to keep them. For everyone else, be prepared for some hilarious Facebook videos and a solid week of eating nothing but ice cream and applesauce.