Welcome to the Holman family Dentistry, where we’re dedicated to helping our patients understand and take care of their dental health. Today, we’re exploring the topic of wisdom teeth and why we have them.
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last set of teeth to emerge in our mouths. They typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. But why do we have these extra teeth when most people today have no use for them? The answer lies in our evolutionary past.
Our ancestors needed the extra molars to help them grind and chew tough foods like roots, nuts, and meat. The larger size of our ancestral jaws also meant there was more room for these teeth to emerge without causing crowding or alignment problems. However, as our diet has evolved, and our jaws have become smaller, there is no longer sufficient room in our mouths for these teeth.
So, why don’t we just evolve to no longer grow these teeth? The process of evolution takes time, and the shift away from eating tough foods has happened relatively recently in human history. Evolutionary changes occur over generations, and wisdom teeth are still prevalent in the human population today.
In many cases, wisdom teeth do not cause any problems and can remain in the mouth. However, in some individuals, the teeth can become impacted, which means they don’t have enough room to emerge fully. This can cause pain, swelling, and even infection.
The team at Holman Family Dentistry can diagnose impacted wisdom teeth with a dental exam and x-rays. If it’s determined that the teeth need to be removed, our team can provide comfortable and safe wisdom tooth extractions. Removing the teeth can prevent further complications and protect your overall oral health.
In addition to wisdom teeth, other types of teeth that no longer serve a purpose in our modern diet include canine teeth and premolars. Our diet today is much softer, and our jaws have evolved to reflect that. However, there is still much we can learn from our evolutionary history, such as the importance of a diverse and balanced diet for overall health.
At Holman Family Dentistry, we are committed to helping our patients understand and maintain their oral health. By exploring the why behind our dental health, we can make more informed decisions about our oral care. If you have any questions about wisdom teeth or any other dental concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help you smile with confidence.
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