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Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

August 17, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — drcaballeros @ 7:34 pm
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Sometime between ages 17 and 21, most adults will start to experience a dull, constant pain towards the back of the jaw. It usually happens when the third set of molars develop, also commonly called wisdom teeth. They’re called that because they’re the last set of teeth to emerge. In most cases, these molars will require extraction to prevent any severe dental problems. Since they’re removed because we don’t need them, you might be wondering – why do we develop them in the first place? Read on to find out.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

As mentioned earlier, wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located at the very back of our mouths. Most people get them in their late teens and early twenties, particularly between 17 and 21. Although they were once essential for the early human diet, they are no longer necessary. In most cases, they are misaligned and will necessitate removal to prevent further oral complications.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Since wisdom teeth aren’t really necessary, why do we have them at all? Well, the answer can be traced back to our ancestors. They were an extremely valuable asset for the early human diet, helping us consume chewy plants, uncooked meat, roots, leaves, and nuts. These third sets of molars easily fit into our ancestor’s much larger jaws! Over time, our jawline has become less broad and smaller because we’ve evolved beyond needing wisdom teeth. Along with the ability to cook food to soften it, modern inventions like forks, spoons, and knives have made the need for a third set of molars virtually nonexistent.

How Frequently Do People Get Wisdom Teeth?

Did you know that only about 65% of the human population is born with wisdom teeth? That means some people may never get any! At this rate, we might eventually reach a point where nobody will have wisdom teeth. However, studies found that genetics can determine whether one will develop their third set of molars.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?

Since our diet needs have changed dramatically, our jaws have become significantly smaller over time. Unfortunately, a smaller jaw means there isn’t enough room to fit all the teeth we’re supposed to have. It’s often recommended to extract the third set of molars to prevent dental complications down the line.

Most short-term and long-term oral health problems caused by wisdom teeth that don’t fit include:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Impacted wisdom teeth
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Jaw pain
  • Cysts and possibly tumors underneath the gums

Wisdom teeth were once crucial for our ancestors. However, they now pose a threat to our oral health.  If you think you might need wisdom teeth removal, contact your dentist and get them out as soon as possible – your smile will thank you!

About the Practice

At On Point Dentistry, you can look forward to friendly, personalized, and individually tailored dental services. Our team goes above and beyond to help you achieve your absolute best smile. If you’re starting to feel a dull ache at the back of your jaw, you might need wisdom teeth removal. Luckily, our team can extract these troublesome molars before they cause severe problems. Visit our website or call our office to schedule an appointment.

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