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Things to know about wisdom teeth
Updated: 4/10/2011 7:00:02 PM

X-rays can determine whether a person Many people don't think about their wisdom teeth until they experience mouth discomfort that signals the molars' presence. In a recent article published by the Kansas City Star, University of Maryland dental School Professor Robert E. Williams discussed the ins and outs of wisdom teeth and their removal.

He explained to the newspaper that prehistoric humans had the third molars because they were necessary the chew the rough foods that comprised their diets. Throughout evolution, Williams said that people have developed smaller jaws that do not allow enough space for wisdom teeth to fully emerge from the gums.

Dentists typically suggest that their patients have their third molars removed, since flaps of skin that cover these teeth can easily become infected, the expert told the news provider. Williams also noted that people who have their wisdom teeth extracted before the structures cause oral problems may require less recovery time after surgery.

Dental x-rays that are taken during routine visits can indicate whether a person's wisdom teeth are close to becoming impacted. In this case, dentists will refer their patients to an oral surgeon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 7,000 practicing oral surgeons in the U.S.

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