Why the Heck Do We Have Wisdom Teeth Anyway?

Have you ever wondered why we have wisdom teeth? Those curious teeth tucked tightly away at the back of our mouth sure do breed plenty of questions. We’ll need to jump inside the time machine to answer this burning little mystery. Join us on a little journey, won’t you?

Soft foods were incredibly hard to come by back in the cave man era. According to most anthropologists, wisdom teeth – our third set of molars – were an evolutionary response to accommodate our late ancestor’s early dietary habits. As legend has it, that diet mostly consisted of leaves, roots, nuts and coarse meats.

Girl in a tooth pain

Our sturdy diets required a lot of extra chewing power, often at the expense of our natural teeth. Wisdom teeth must have proved useful back then when the original molars ran out of gas – the absence of dental care back in the dawn of early man probably resulted in the majority of these teeth fractured into little pieces. Sounds unpleasant, no?

Our modern dietary habits have evolved like most things from the Stone Age. We love our soft foods – bagels, potatoes, ice cream – you name it. The dazzling innovation of modern cutlery has only further undermined any real need for wisdom teeth. We can eat our meat in a far more civilized manner, armed with a knife and fork.

Wisdom teeth often erupt in our mouths between the ages of 17 and 25, although some people never actually grow them. Considering our permanent teeth aren’t falling out quite the way they did in the day of our late, late ancestors, it presents a pretty unique challenge to our oral health.

Some wisdom teeth can create crowding in our mouths, causing our bite to become uncomfortable. Your dentist may recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed in a future appointment, a procedure that can often be performed in as little as an hour.

Have questions about your wisdom teeth? Schedule your next appointment with Tempe Smiles and find some answers!