Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Tooth development normally takes place in an organized fashion, over a course of several years. By around the tween years, most of us say goodbye to the tooth fairy leaving chump change under our pillows and hello to the settling in of nice rows of permanent teeth.
One exception to this is, however, are wisdom teeth, which to this day, remain a bit of a mystery. Typically erupting between the ages of 17 and 25, these third set of molars are virtually useless to modern humans and have become an oral-related nuisance we’ve all come to dread. So why do we have wisdom teeth if they usually just end up being pulled out?
Like it or not, there is a reason why wisdom teeth appear within the mouth and it dates back to our early ancestors. Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth were the evolutionary answer to the coarse, rough food diet of early humans – like leaves, roots, nuts, and meats which all required more chewing power and resulted in excessive wear of the teeth. The softer foods of the modern diet, along with marvels of modern technologies such as utensils, has made the need for wisdom teeth nonexistent. As a result, evolutionary biologists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs, or body parts that have become functionless due to evolution.
It is important to note that some people never get wisdom teeth. For those who do, the number may range anywhere from one to four – and, on very rare occasions, more than four. Even recent scientific literature has yet to fully explain why the number of teeth per individual varies, but for those who do get these extraneous teeth, all sorts of problems can arise.
Most wisdom teeth tend to come in fine or not too properly, making them more prone to infection or disease. There is a vital need for them to be removed in order to protect a healthy mouth even if they happen not to be causing a problem in terms of spacing—though it is also important to remember that getting them removed isn’t always a foregone conclusion if they are fully erupted or functional.
If you do have wisdom teeth that need desperately to be taken out, it is strongly recommended that patients remove any or all supernumerary teeth when they are young adults in order to prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing.Those who choose to receive oral surgery after the age of 35 have higher risks for complications, more difficult surgeries, and longer healing time. The best time to get wisdom teeth removed would be when the roots are about two-thirds formed.
Getting Smart About Wisdom Teeth
How to manage the issue of wisdom teeth is ultimately a decision only you can make. Though an expensive extraction surgery for teeth may definitely be aggravating, it very well may be the correct dental health option in the long run. Having a frank discussion with your dental health team and reviewing all your options is the first step in making the right choice.
If you have any questions about wisdom tooth removal or why we need wisdom teeth, contact Devonshire Dental Group, a specialty oral and maxillofacial surgery facility offering a large number of oral surgical procedures. Our goal is to bring out the best smile in you, along with healthier teeth and gums and a more functional bite. Call or simply visit today!