The Origins of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are considered by anthropologists to be vestigial organs, which are parts of the body, like the appendix, which serve no purpose. So why do we develop them when we don’t need them?
Millions of years ago the human jaw was larger. Eons back at the beginning of the evolutionary scale as humans began evolving into a separate species from apes. At that time, hominids were not yet walking upright on their hind legs. Therefore the arms were still occupied by use for mobility. Many scientists theorize that the third set of molars we commonly refer to as wisdom teeth were necessary to function with other teeth in self-defense as well as for capturing and eating prey. A diet of roots and raw meat required much more chewing power than the food humans eat today.
Over time, we evolved to Homo erectus and the arms became the primary tool for obtaining food, and this paved the way for the jaw to shrink and the brain to grow. As the brain developed, early humans began fashioning tools and discovered fire. With the introduction of cutting instruments and capacity to cook food, the human diet became much softer and required far less chewing power, and thus, the need for a third set of molars declined.
At present day, most people begin developing wisdom teeth at ten years of age, reaching full development between the ages of 17-23. With the decrease in the size of the human jaw, for most people, there is no longer room to accommodate this third set of molars, and so allowing them to grow can cause them to become impacted and a whole host of other oral problems.
Dr. Hudson offers wisdom teeth extraction surgery to prevent wisdom teeth from causing pain and other problems. For a consultation, contact out office at 888-724-7986.