Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

For most people, getting their wisdom teeth extracted around early adulthood is a necessary procedure to prevent oral complications such as impacted teeth from occurring. For instance, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that 85% of wisdom teeth will need to be removed. If most people need to get their wisdom teeth removed, why do humans have them at all?

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

The reason humans have wisdom teeth goes back to our ancestors. Early man’s jaws were larger to accommodate all 32 teeth, including wisdom teeth, as teeth played a critical role in survival. It was essential for new teeth to come in during early adulthood to replace teeth that had been lost due to heavy wear and decay. The diets of early humans were much different than those eaten today, and this is reflected in our ancestors’ overall oral health and anatomy.

Early Human Diets

For instance, early human diets consisted of rough foods that required extensive chewing; some of the common foods included:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • uncooked meats
  • leaves
  • roots

The tough, course consistency of these types of foods plus the way in which they were eaten contributed to tooth loss. Early humans did not use eating utensils to cut up foods into smaller pieces, nor did they have toothbrushes and floss to prevent decay. As a result, more teeth were lost, and therefore, early humans needed replacements to arrive during early adulthood.

Austin Oral Surgery

Has your dentist recommended wisdom teeth extraction? Contact Austin Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery if you have any questions about wisdom tooth removal, and a member of our Patient Service team will be happy to address them. Do not hesitate to call today or visit our website to learn more.