Ever wondered how many people suffer from wisdom tooth pain, why wisdom teeth are extracted or why they are even there in the first place?
We’ve collected a selection of wisdom tooth facts, figures and statistics;
1. Lower wisdom teeth are the most commonly extracted. This is because the lower wisdom teeth are often not involved in your bite. Also the vast majority of pericoronitis cases (inflammation of the soft tissue around a wisdom tooth) occur in the lower wisdom teeth.
2. Wisdom teeth generally decay at an increased rate in comparison to other teeth due to their position in the mouth, which makes them very difficult to clean.
3. Just under 10% of wisdom tooth extraction patients experience symptoms such as prolonged bleeding and altered touch sensation.
4. Surgical extraction of wisdom teeth can cause fractures to the lower Jaw, though these cases are extremely rare.
5. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth and are the most frequently removed teeth.
6. 90% of 20 year olds have at least one wisdom tooth that hasn’t erupted or has erupted partially. It’s not unusual for Wisdom teeth to erupt until someone is into their late 20’s and 30’s.
7. Around 2% of people are born without any wisdom teeth at all.
8. Wisdom tooth pain is the most common reason that young adults seek emergency dental care.
9. Wisdom teeth come through most commonly between the ages of 17 and 25. It’s assumed that they are named due to people around that age being young yet “wiser than a child”.
10. Wisdom teeth were originally evolved to assist with chewing for a diet rich in unrefined, raw foods such as leaves, roots, nuts and meat.
It’s also claimed that wisdom tooth impaction is more common now as the modern diet tends to be softer.
11. Wisdom tooth extraction is usually performed only with local anaesthetic, though many patients opt to be sedated in order to reduce feelings of anxiety.
12. Wisdom teeth contain stem cells, which may be used to treat other medical conditions.
13. Permanent paresthesia is a risk of wisdom tooth removal. It causes numbness and in some cases an uncomfortable “pins and needles” like sensation in the mouth.
Dental expert Dr. Jay W. Friedman, estimated in a research paper in 2007 that over 11000 people suffer permanent paresthesia following the extraction of wisdom teeth.
14. A report from 1994 found that 90% of people on oral and maxillofacial surgery hospital waiting lists were awaiting the removal of wisdom teeth.
15. The incidence of wisdom tooth removal is estimated to be 4 per 1000 person-years in England and Wales.
16. Wisdom tooth removal is one of the top 10 inpatient and day-case procedures.
17. Impacted wisdom teeth can destroy teeth and bone which sit adjacent to them.
18. Impacted wisdom teeth are a fairly modern problem. Our teeth used to naturally wear away due to eating rough foods.
By the time the wisdom teeth erupted, the rest of the teeth in the mouth had usually decayed, allowing the wisdom teeth space to erupt without getting in the way of other teeth.
19. The practice of routine wisdom tooth extraction began in the 1950’s. By the 1990’s over 70,000 people were having their wisdom teeth removed in hospital.
20. Dr. Tara Renton, professor of oral surgery at King’s College London stated in 2015 that up to half a million wisdom tooth extractions are performed on the NHS every year.