Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth

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Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth

Ever wondered why those wisdom teeth appear just when you think your dental woes are over? Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually appear in your late teens or early twenties.

Did you know they were once crucial for our ancestors’ survival? Today, due to our modern diets and smaller jaws, they often cause more problems than they solve.

Read on to learn more about the history of wisdom teeth and how they impact our smiles.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last set that usually appear in your late teens or early twenties. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. These teeth are notorious for causing various dental issues, but why do we have them in the first place?

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

Our wisdom teeth date back to our ancestors’ eating habits. Our early ancestors had a much tougher diet filled with raw plants, roots, nuts, and uncooked meat. This diet required much more chewing power, which caused significant wear on their teeth.

Over time, their teeth would wear down or fall out, so extra molars, like wisdom teeth, were necessary to replace the lost ones and keep chewing efficiently. These wisdom teeth provided the additional grinding power needed to handle these tough foods.

Why are they called wisdom teeth?

The term “wisdom teeth” is derived from the age at which they typically emerge. These teeth appear at a more mature age when a person is thought to have gained some “wisdom.” This is usually between 17 and 25, hence the name.

What was the original purpose of wisdom teeth?

Our ancestors had much larger jaws and needed the extra set of molars to help chew and digest a rougher diet. Early humans consumed a lot of raw plants, nuts, roots, and meat, which required a lot of chewing power. The wisdom teeth provided that extra bite force needed to break down these tough foods.

How have human diets and jaws changed over time?

Over thousands of years, human diets have significantly changed. We now eat softer, cooked foods that are easier to chew and digest. This dietary shift has led to a reduction in jaw size over generations. Modern jaws are smaller, and there often isn’t enough room for an extra set of molars, which leads to the problems many people face with their wisdom teeth.

Does everyone get wisdom teeth?

Not everyone develops wisdom teeth. Some people may have one, two, three, or no wisdom teeth. The number can vary widely, and it’s all perfectly normal. Genetic factors play a significant role in determining how many if any, wisdom teeth you will develop.

Are wisdom teeth becoming unnecessary?

There is a growing belief among scientists and dentists that wisdom teeth are becoming unnecessary. As human diets and lifestyles evolve, the need for these extra molars has diminished. Some studies suggest that fewer people are developing wisdom teeth over time, indicating an evolutionary shift.

What problems can wisdom teeth cause?

Wisdom teeth can cause several problems, including:

  1. Crowding: If there isn’t enough space in your mouth for the wisdom teeth, they can push other teeth out of alignment.
  2. Impaction: When a wisdom tooth is trapped beneath the gum, it can cause pain, swelling, and infection.
  3. Decay and Gum Disease: Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth, making them difficult to clean and more prone to cavities and gum disease.
  4. Cysts and Tumors: In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to cysts or tumours, damaging the jawbone and surrounding teeth.

If you’re experiencing pain, crowding, or infection, consider wisdom tooth removal in Grande Prairie. Our clinic offers solutions tailored to your needs.

Contact our clinic today

Wisdom teeth are a fascinating part of our evolutionary history but can cause problems today. Understanding them is key to maintaining good oral health.

At Cobblestone Dental, we’re here to keep your smile healthy and bright. If you’re worried about your wisdom teeth or feeling pain, don’t stress! We offer regular check-ups to catch issues early and keep you comfortable.

Do you have questions about your wisdom teeth? Schedule an appointment with our dentist in Grande Prairie. Our team is ready to help.