Wisdom Teeth: What Is Their Function?
Wisdom teeth once served a larger purpose, but as humans have developed, the role of wisdom teeth has become much less important.
While wisdom teeth can be useful when they grow in correctly, they do not always do so and thus require removal if they become problematic.
What is the function of wisdom teeth?
Today, wisdom teeth do not serve much of a necessary function, although they can be useful as a third set of molars if they grow in correctly.
However, wisdom teeth are an interesting piece of human history, and it can be good to understand the role they serve.
The purpose of wisdom teeth
Our human ancestors, as in humans who lived thousands of years ago, relied upon wisdom teeth, or third molars, much more than we do today. In a world where meat was not thoroughly cooked, sharp knives were not used to cut meat into tiny pieces and chewing food required much more jaw pressure, a third set of molars was vitally important.
However, as we grew and developed, wisdom teeth became less and less important, as we now consume food in a much different manner, one in which much less tearing, chewing and crushing is necessary.
While the role of wisdom teeth is reduced in humans today, they can still be useful for those who are able to have them grow in correctly.
When wisdom teeth become problematic
Many historians believe that our ancestors had much larger jaws, which were able to effortlessly fit the wisdom teeth once they grew in. As the need for wisdom teeth reduced, our jaw size grew smaller, to the point where many are not able to have wisdom teeth grow in properly.
For such people, it is necessary to have the wisdom teeth removed to prevent any damage from occurring to other teeth, gums or the jaw.
Wisdom teeth that grow in incorrectly can cause the misalignment of other teeth, severe pain and swelling that can make it difficult to clean the mouth and can cause jaw complications.
What to expect during wisdom teeth removal
Many put off having their wisdom teeth removed for as long as possible out of fear that the procedure is going to be painful. While there may be some residual pain and swelling that exists after the surgery, the procedure to remove wisdom teeth itself is not painful, as the patient is placed under anesthesia.
The process of removing impacted wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth that grow in incorrectly is to place the patient under anesthesia, make a small incision into the gums to fully access the teeth, remove them and then clean and close the gums back up.
After wisdom teeth removal, it is important to keep the mouth clean and avoid anything that could irritate the affected areas.
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