Dentist San Fernando Valley

Purpose of Wisdom Teeth

Purpose of Wisdom TeethDuring your late teens, it is natural for your wisdom teeth to start erupting through your gums. Although not everyone develops wisdom teeth during their lifetime, most people have developed these four molars by the time they are 30. Well before that, most people have already had them removed. It is estimated that around 85% of people will need to have them removed or face complications. Given the high number of wisdom teeth extractions, why do we even grow them in the first place?

It turns out that wisdom teeth are vestigial organs that date back to prehistoric times. Much like a tailbone, we modern humans do not necessarily have much use for these teeth. Back in the day, our ancestors had plenty of use for them, though. As you could probably imagine, our cavemen ancestors did not have the best oral hygiene. They were forced to eat half-raw meat and hard grains in order to survive, and it usually wreaked havoc on their molars. Over time, our ancestors evolved to grow wisdom teeth around their mid-20s. These additional molars were particularly useful for them when their other molars were already worn down from the difficult-to-chew food supply they had available.

Today, we no longer require these additional molars in order to be able to continue chewing our food properly. In fact, most of the time wisdom teeth create issues for our modern mouths. Less than 10% of the entire population is thought to have wisdom teeth that grow in normally. The rest of us face issues such as misalignment and infection from our wisdom teeth. That is why they are usually extracted.

If you have wisdom teeth that are starting to painfully erupt through your gums, contact our dental extraction dentist in San Fernando Valley to set up a consultation.

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