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A lot of people wonder: what are wisdom teeth and what makes them different from my other teeth? Wisdom teeth, occasionally called “third molars,” are the teeth on the top and bottom rows of your mouth that sit the furthest back, closest to your jaws. Most people have four wisdom teeth, but some have less than that, and some people’s wisdom teeth don’t grow in at all.

History of Wisdom Teeth

The history of wisdom teeth is widely unknown across the population, even by those who have had wisdom teeth surgery. Wisdom teeth got their name because unlike most adult teeth, which come in after a baby tooth falls out, wisdom teeth grow in when you are older and therefore “wiser.” Wisdom teeth usually grow in during your late teens or early twenties. This is also when the surgery takes place, to ensure the teeth can be removed before the roots grow too deep.
You may be thinking, “What is the purpose of wisdom teeth if we just have to get them removed?”

Historically, our ancestors actually needed wisdom teeth, unlike modern times. Our prehistoric ancestors needed the strength of these extra molars in order to chew through the tougher foods of their diet. Their wisdom teeth provided more bite power to eat foods like strong foliage, seeds, nuts and tough meats. However, in modern times, we have a softer diet filled with carbohydrates and the ability to cook tough foods down to make them easier to chew and digest. This is why we really have no need for wisdom teeth anymore, and they usually cause more harm than good when growing in. Even though we have no use for our wisdom teeth, our bodies aren’t aware of that so they usually still grow in for most people. Because of this, scientists classify them as vestigial organs, which are body parts that have no apparent function thanks to evolution.

Purpose of Wisdom Teeth Removal

Now if you’re thinking, “Having wisdom teeth did no harm to our ancestors, so what harm could it do to me,” you’re not alone!

A lot of people question why wisdom teeth have to be surgically removed since they were obviously placed in our mouths for a reason. Because of our ancestors’ tough diet and the lack of modern day dental practices, they experienced a lot of tooth loss. Thanks to that tooth loss, their wisdom teeth had more room to grow in their mouths without overcrowding the rest of their teeth. In modern times, humans don’t experience as much tooth loss as we used to. Because of this, your jaw does not have enough room for your wisdom teeth to squeeze in without forcing your other teeth to shift. This shifting and impaction causes immense pain and an uneven smile, which is why most people opt to have their wisdom teeth removed. We can choose to appreciate what wisdom teeth did for our ancestors without letting our own wisdom teeth crowd our mouths!

Contact Alcovy Dental Today!

Now that you have all the information to make you wiser about your wisdom teeth, give Alcovy Dental a call if you think it may be time to get your wisdom teeth removed! Let our expert dental team assess your wisdom teeth situation to determine when is the best time to have your wisdom teeth removal surgery. We’ll work with you to ensure the least impact on your other teeth.