There is an ever-present fear associated with the emergence of wisdom teeth. Certainly, this is for a valid reason. Very often, they cause patients to suffer and make the whole experience an unbearable ordeal.
To remove them, a surgical procedure may even be required, Harley Street Dental Clinic says.
This brings to mind the question, why must humans have to go through this? Why must nature do something that causes so much pain and discomfort with a very unclear purpose?
Truth be told, wisdom teeth may not be as useless and purposeless as you would think.
A call of the Neanderthal
Wisdom teeth erupt at the far reaches of the mouth and are the last set of teeth to come out, commonly between 15 and 25 years old. As they are aptly named, they emerge during the so-called “years of wisdom”.
Thousands of years ago, our ancestors needed the extra set of teeth to chew through uncooked meat and hard objects, like roots and nuts.Unlike today, it was not an issue in the past because people had a different anatomy; they had bigger faces, wider jaws and, therefore, bigger mouths.
Why is it a problem now?
Well, not only do the wisdom teeth’s intended utility seem a bit outdated now, thanks to the advent of cooking, our anatomy has shifted as well. About 20,000 years later, there was a significant reduction in jaw and facial size. Apparently, the disappearance of wisdom teeth was not a part of the evolution.
Today, they persistently grow in the modern human’s smaller mouth and because of the awkward fit, they tend to grow sideways and succumb to abnormal orientations.
People with problematic wisdom teeth have either too small jaw for their teeth, or too big teeth for their jaw. This disproportion makes wisdom teeth appear like a nature’s glitch that every so often causes the modern human to feel agonising pain and inconvenience.
If wisdom teeth become impacted, or when they cannot fully emerge from the gums, they can cause several complications, including tooth decay, gum disease or even cyst formation.
This gives you a responsibility to be mindful of wisdom teeth growth, and to have them removed when necessary. Another difference between our forefathers and us is that we have advanced tools to manage our misfortunes now.