Today, most Americans opt to have their wisdom teeth removed. Often, people’s mouths can’t accommodate these extra teeth comfortably. And if they grow in improperly, they can cause a whole host of dental issues.
Wisdom teeth usually erupt in the late teens or early twenties. But if they’re unnecessary, and they usually have a negative effect on oral health, why do we have them? Aurora Dental Care will take a look at the evolution of wisdom teeth, discuss how we first evolved wisdom teeth, and why we still have them.
When Did We First Evolve Wisdom Teeth?
Believe it or not, there was a time when our mouths could comfortably accommodate all 32 teeth. But this was over 100 million years ago, according to researchers.
The jaws of early hominids (the predecessors to humans) were large and prominent, because they had a much more vital role in survival. Early hominids were bipedal hunters. That meant that their legs and their arms were both usually occupied when hunting prey, maintaining balance and allowing them to keep pace with their speedy game.
The jaws were the primary method that hominids used to dismember and consume prey animals. This is similar to the way many modern primates eat. Early hominids also had a diet that was much higher in fibrous material, tough meat, leaves, and vegetation.
This all means that a large, powerful jaw was beneficial to our ancestors, and that having an extra set of molars was very helpful when eating and hunting alike.
Why Did We Evolve Smaller Jaws?
Modern humans have much less prominent jaws than our early ancestors. This is thought to be due to the mutation of a gene called MYH16. This mutation may have led to shorter jaws, which in turn allowed our brains to grow in size.
As our heads and jaws were changing, rapid cultural shifts took place, such as the invention of tools and discovery of fire. These changes resulted in a shift that altered the shape of our mouths, making them smaller and less hospitable to our third set of molars.
Today, we don’t need wisdom teeth as our diets are much more processed. They can even be harmful to our oral health.
Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed? Come To Aurora Dental Care In Seattle!
If you need wisdom tooth extraction in Greenwood, come to Aurora Dental Care today. Dr. Tuanh Smith is an expert at extractions of all kinds. Our team will take great care of you, and ensure you get the treatment you need. Contact us today at (206) 729-0273, or visit our Seattle office in-person at 10314 Greenwood Ave N,Seattle, WA 98133.