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Dental and Oral Health Center

Wisdom Teeth

02/04/2010

Question:

Hey i have been wondering for a while what your wisdom teeth are used for my dad (who has a doctrine degree) says they are used for replacing your other teeth when they fall out if they do they come to check if one is gone thats why it hurts and my biology teacher says they are used for grinding up foods or they used to be and i really want to know who is right can someone please tell me?

Answer:

About 1 out of three patients are missing one or more wisdom teeth.  If the human species survives on earth for another thousand years or so, everyone will be missing these teeth.  Some people; however, currently do have wisdom teeth in their mouths that they do use for chewing (grinding) food.  Occasionally, wisdom teeth will partially grow "forward" in the mouth and try to replace missing or extracted teeth.  In most cases, wisdom teeth are unneeded largely unused teeth that are hard to brush and floss and can cause gum problems, infections, pushing and pressure.  Sometimes wisdom teeth remain deeply buried under the gum and bone for an entire lifetime and never cause any problems.

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Response by:

David Lee Hall, DDS David Lee Hall, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University