Wisdom Teeth: Evolutionary Relics in Modern Times
Our wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are remnants of a time when our ancestors needed larger jaws to accommodate a diet of tougher foods. However, as our diets evolved and became more diverse, the size of our jaws has decreased, leaving many of us with insufficient space for these extra teeth. This can lead to a host of complications that make it necessary for many people to get their wisdom teeth removed.
Why We Don’t Need Our Wisdom Teeth Anymore
Our ancestors needed their wisdom teeth to grind tough foods, such as roots and nuts, which made up a significant part of their diet. However, as our diets became more varied and included softer foods, our jaws became smaller, leaving little room for these extra teeth. As a result, wisdom teeth often become impacted, meaning they don’t fully emerge from the gums or grow in at an angle, which can cause a host of dental problems.
Complications of Not Removing Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth that are left in the mouth can cause a number of problems, including:
- Crowding: When wisdom teeth emerge, they can crowd other teeth, causing misalignment and bite problems.
- Pain: Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and infection in the surrounding gum tissue.
- Decay: Wisdom teeth that are difficult to clean can lead to decay and gum disease, which can spread to other teeth.
- Cyst Formation: Wisdom teeth can sometimes form cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs that can damage surrounding teeth and bones.
- Tumor Formation: In rare cases, wisdom teeth can develop into tumors, which can be cancerous.
In conclusion, wisdom teeth are an evolutionary relic that are no longer necessary for our modern diets and lifestyles. Leaving them in the mouth can lead to a host of complications, including pain, decay, cyst formation, and tumor formation. If you have wisdom teeth, it’s important to have them evaluated by a dentist to determine if removal is necessary to protect your oral health.