We all know of Wisdom Teeth. If you don’t know exactly what they’re for, you will have heard of them. The images that come to mind are poor late-teens and 20-somethings with puffy cheeks and bowls of ice cream. The reputation they hold is not a positive one.
So, what are they for? Why are typically-extracted teeth considered to be so wise? Or, at least, named as such?
A Brief History
Also known as the third molar, wisdom teeth are a remaining legacy from a time when we humans are reported to have had larger heads. It is suggested that the skulls of our ancestors had larger jaws and more teeth. These extra teeth, the third molars or wisdom teeth, could have been used to help chew foliage in a time when we did not have the luxury of a stove. This was some 10,000 years ago, before agriculture became the norm and our diets became softer. With our softer diets, it was noticed that we evolved to have less forward-growing jaws, thus leaving less room for those larger molars at the back.
For generations, wisdom teeth have been a common source of frustration and discomfort. There are records as far back as Aristotle, complaining about the ‘great pain’ they cause. To put that into perspective, Aristotle lived between 384-322 BC. These molars have been bugging us for over 2350 years!
What’s in a Name?
Much like the ‘funny bone’, it seems cruel to give such an elevated name to such a pain in the backside. These third molars got their high-status name because of the age at which they come through. The owner of these molars is typically between the age of 17 and 25 when they erupt. Whoever was responsible for the nickname was suggesting that the teeth appeared at an age where an adolescent becomes a wise adult.
What to Expect
Sadly, we have not yet evolved to a point where wisdom teeth are phased out of our lives. There are rare, lucky people who are born without any, though it is more common to have anywhere from one to four. In extremely rare cases, people develop even more which will present its own set of issues! If your dentist has confirmed that you do not have the room in your mouth or their development will cause the rest of your teeth to shift, these third molars will need to be removed.
Removal of wisdom teeth is a common and straightforward procedure. Yes, it will leave you feeling a little worse for wear, however, in exchange for this discomfort, you can take a few days off work or school, binge-watch Netflix and eat ice cream straight from the tub.
Contact our team on 07 3902 1023 or our online contact page to enquire about the best option for your wisdom teeth removal.