What Is The Purpose Of Wisdom Teeth? And Its Removal Process

Sarhan Basem
credit; rabelfamilydentistry

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, have a fascinating history in human evolution. While they once played a crucial role in our ancestors’ survival, their significance has diminished over time due to changes in our dietary habits and advancements in food preparation. In this article, we will explore the answer to the question: What is the purpose of wisdom teeth? We will also discuss their reduced function in the present and why wisdom teeth removal might be necessary in some cases.

What is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?: Ancestral Significance

Long ago, our human ancestors faced a very different lifestyle from the one we lead today. In ancient times, they relied heavily on wisdom teeth to help them consume raw and unprocessed foods. These third molars served as valuable assets, aiding in the tearing, grinding, and crushing food, especially tough meats. The larger jaws of our predecessors accommodated the growth of wisdom teeth effortlessly.

The Changing Role of Wisdom Teeth

As humans evolved, so did our culinary practices and technologies. The development of cooking techniques made food more tender, and the use of sharp knives enabled easier cutting. Consequently, the need for extensive chewing and the role of wisdom teeth gradually declined. Our jaws adapted to the changing diet, becoming smaller over time, which, unfortunately, has led to complications for some individuals.

What is The Purpose of Wisdom Teeth Today?

In modern times, wisdom teeth serve a limited purpose, but they can still be beneficial if they grow correctly. These molars can function as an extra set of chewing tools for individuals with sufficient jaw space and properly aligned wisdom teeth. However, such cases are becoming increasingly rare as our jaws continue to evolve in response to our dietary habits.

When Wisdom Teeth Become Problematic

The reduction in jaw size has created a common issue, impacting wisdom teeth. When there is insufficient space for these molars to emerge fully, they can grow in at awkward angles or remain trapped beneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause different problems, including misalignment of other teeth, pain, swelling, and difficulties cleaning the mouth. In severe cases, they may even cause damage to neighboring teeth, gums, and the jawbone.

Wisdom Teeth Removal: A Common Procedure

Due to the potential complications associated with impacted wisdom teeth, their removal is often recommended. Dental professionals perform this procedure routinely to prevent future oral health issues. While some may fear the process, it is important to know that wisdom teeth removal is not painful for the patient. The process is typically performed under anesthesia to make sure comfort during the operation.

The Wisdom Teeth Removal Process

During removal, the dental surgeon will make a small incision in the gums to access the wisdom teeth. In the case of impacted molars, the surgeon will carefully extract them to avoid any damage to surrounding structures. After the teeth are removed, the surgical site is thoroughly cleaned, and the gums are sutured closed to promote healing.

Post-Operative Care

Following wisdom teeth removal, it is essential to take proper care to prevent complications. Consuming soft and easy-to-chew foods during the recovery period is also recommended.

Conclusion: What is The Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?

In conclusion, wisdom teeth were once invaluable to our ancestors but have become less crucial over time as our diet and jaw structure evolved. While they can still be useful for some individuals, many face issues with impacted wisdom teeth, necessitating their removal. Thankfully, wisdom teeth removal is a routine and safe procedure that can prevent potential oral health complications, ensuring a healthy and pain-free smile.

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.