When Did Removal of Wisdom Teeth Begin?

Blonde teenage girl that needs her wisdom teeth removed smiles with her eyes closed while in the woods

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt behind the two sets of molars, typically in a person’s late teens or early twenties. These teeth often are misaligned or impacted (stuck below the gumline) and require removal to prevent potential dental health problems, such as overcrowding, decay, gum disease, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth. For these reasons, surgical removal or extraction of wisdom teeth is common and routine. But has it always been that way?

Why Wisdom Teeth Removal Was Previously Unpopular

Prior to the introduction of Novocaine in 1902, wisdom teeth were probably rarely, if ever, removed as a preventive measure. Patients who experienced problems or infection with their wisdom teeth either had to live with the pain or endure the agonizing procedure of getting them dug out without sedation and anesthesia. This would have been an intimidating procedure for anyone due to the extreme pain, but it was made worse that it was difficult to find a qualified doctor. Moreover, they lacked the perks of modern surgical dentistry many of us take for granted, such as specialized tools, proper lighting, magnification, and antibiotics. Unfortunately, many people likely died from wisdom tooth infections. But by the 1950s, the advent of antibiotics dramatically reduced infection-related deaths.

The Need for Wisdom Teeth By Early Humans

Considering how much trouble wisdom teeth often cause, it’s reasonable to wonder we even have them in the first place! One theory is that our early ancestors wore out their teeth by early adulthood and needed a third set of molars for continued function. Early humans ate a diet of hard-to-chew foods like roots and raw meat. Though there is evidence of “chew sticks” being used anciently to clean teeth, a lack of oral hygiene inevitably would have led to decayed and missing teeth. So an extra pair that emerged later in life would have come in handy!

The Evolution of Smaller Jaws

Human jaws eventually grew smaller as society transitioned to a more agriculturally-based food supply of softer, cooked foods and the need for extra teeth declined. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, others only have one or two, and many of us have all four! And most patients just don’t have enough room for any number of these third molars, thus they commonly need to be removed.

Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

If you still have any or all of your wisdom teeth, don’t wait until they become problematic to have them examined. Here at Rigby Advanced Dental, we can not only determine whether you’d benefit from having your wisdom teeth removed, but we can perform the procedure in-house so you don’t need to be referred out. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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Can I Keep My Wisdom Teeth?

brunette girl wearing a scarf and jacket with a fur hood looking up and smirking

It’s almost a rite of passage: before heading off to college, or perhaps while still in college, many young adults will get their wisdom teeth removed. Then there are some people who don’t have them extracted until years later. But why do people get their wisdom teeth removed, and is it actually necessary? Let’s break it down.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?


Wisdom teeth are a set of extra molars that come in in the very back of our mouths. Most people don’t have sufficient room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth, and that is why they are so often removed. It’s a common procedure that many people go through, but some people do prefer to keep their wisdom teeth and forgo the minor surgery that removal entails.

Why We Remove Wisdom Teeth


Removing wisdom teeth can prevent major dental problems later on. When wisdom teeth grow in and crowd your mouth they can leave you prone to all sorts of issues, like jaw problems, damaged nerves, cavities, misalignment, and gum damage. Not to mention, wisdom teeth coming in can be painful itself! Removing them can help you avoid all of these concerns.

A Personal Choice


While many people have their wisdom teeth removed, some don’t, and the bottom line is that it depends on the person. Every person’s wisdom teeth are different, and only your dental professional can tell you if they should be removed or not. Perhaps you are one of the lucky few who have enough room in their mouth for wisdom teeth. Your dentist will be able to examine your mouth and see things you can’t see.

No matter what, it’s important to be informed and know what your options are so you can make the best medical decisions for yourself. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth, contact us at Rigby Advanced Dental!

Are You Predisposed to Tooth Decay?

If you’ve had a few cavities or extractions, it may not just be from the food you eat or the age of your toothbrush. Some patients are predisposed to tooth decay, meaning that they have a higher chance of needing fillings, extractions, and root canals because of factors beyond their control.

What factors decide if you’re at risk for tooth decay? Maybe you were born that way.

Presdisposed to tooth decay

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What To Do and Expect After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Here at Rigby Advanced Dental in Bee Cave, TX we consider the removal of impacted teeth a surgical procedure and post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.

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Wisdom Teeth…..The Dreaded Third Molars

Wisdom tooth removal is a very common dental procedure and one discussed often here at Rigby Advanced Dental in Bee Cave, TX.  Dr Rigby carefully examines each case, discusses and educates the patient on the pros and cons of wisdom tooth extraction.  If removal is indicated then a decision is made with the patient on how they would like to have them removed and what level of sedation they desire.

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What To Do If A Child Knocks A Tooth Out On Accident

Here at Rigby Advanced Dental in Bee Cave, TX we believe in being prepared for any dental emergency whether it is in our dental office or out.  One of the most common dental emergencies we see for children is an loose or knocked out tooth.  Here are a few pointers to help you in the important triaging and handling of the situation.

When your child has a dental emergency, it can be quite stressful – not only for your child, but also for you.  Some dental emergencies, such as a tooth knocked out, can produce quite a bit of blood, which can quickly send you into panic mode. Being prepared for the unexpected is your best defense. Knowing how to handle your child’s dental emergency will make the ordeal less stressful for both of you.

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What To Expect With Tooth Extraction

Unfortunately for some, tooth extraction is an inevitable adventure!  Teeth often have to be removed to ensure adequate infection control and to improve the overall health of a patient, but before it “needs” to be done understanding the why or why not is important.  

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