Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Many people will have to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their life. While the procedure is most often performed on younger patients, impacted wisdom teeth may have to be removed if they cause health complications later in life. So what function do wisdom teeth serve?

Why We Have Wisdom Teeth

Anthropologists theorize that evolution caused humans to develop wisdom teeth out of necessity.  The foods that used to compose past humans’ diets were much harder and ground down the teeth. This grinding made it necessary to have another set of teeth. The teeth had to perform many of the functions that silverware does today.

As humans began to cook their food, the food grew softer and wisdom teeth ultimately became unnecessary. Most people have them removed, because without the teeth grinding down, there isn’t enough room for the wisdom teeth.

Anthropologists believe that the lack in necessity has caused the decrease in people who have wisdom teeth. Though fewer and fewer people have wisdom teeth, the majority of people do.

Possible Health Complications

There are several possible oral health problems that can be caused by wisdom teeth. The wisdom teeth can cause crowding, which can result in crooked teeth. Many dentists recommend having your wisdom teeth before having significant orthodontic work done, to prevent having the work undone by the appearance of wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth require the same amount of care as all the other teeth. Otherwise, they can become painfully infected. Partially or fully impacted teeth can be even more difficult to maintain, because a portion of the tooth is still covered by the gums. Check with your dentist to see if you should have your wisdom teeth removed, even if they have not yet broken through the gums.

For more information about wisdom teeth, or to schedule a consultation, contact us at Hyde Park Dental today!

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