What’s the Reason Behind Wisdom Teeth?

worried woman covering mouthIn most instances, your body is a well-crafted machine whose various parts work in tandem for optimal operation. However, we may need to tweak certain things about our bodies and health from time to time, and you may wonder why they occur in the first place. Wisdom teeth are an excellent example of such phenomena. Although the human mouth is typically designed to comfortably fit 28 teeth, wisdom teeth increase that number to 32, which often leads to a number of dental health problems if not extracted. Experienced Cerritos oral surgeon, Dr. Shawn Hofkes, explains one common belief behind the reason for wisdom teeth, and can help relieve your discomfort when yours give you trouble.

Educated Conjecture

Your teeth are meant for more than brightening your smile’s visage; their main purpose is to tear and grind your food into manageable chunks for your digestive system to process. The human mouth as we know it today may not be anatomically identical to that of our ancestors, whose fossils show often had larger jaws. Archaeologists believe that the four extra molars known as wisdom teeth provided our ancestors the extra chewing power needed to handle a coarse diet of nuts, roots, and tough meats.

A Remnant of the Past

Although our mouths have largely grown accustomed to a more forgiving diet, a third set of molars often grows in around the ages of 17 and 25 (a period often known as “the age of wisdom”). In some cases, these molars can erupt without a hitch. Frequently, though, the growth of these extra teeth is impeded by the molars already present in the back of your mouth. The lack of space can lead to complications as the teeth press against the molars already there, pushing your other teeth out of place. The discomfort of impacted wisdom teeth can be debilitating, and often people may opt to have them removed before trouble even begins.


With advanced training in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is highly-qualified to provide comfortable, complex oral surgery services, including impacted wisdom tooth extraction. To schedule your appointment or consultation with Dr. Hofkes, contact us today by calling 562-584-4082. We proudly serve patients of all ages from Cerritos, Lakewood, Long Beach, Buena Park, and all surrounding communities.