What Purpose Do Wisdom Teeth Have?

Smart Wisdom Tooth Facts

What is wisdom teeth for anyway? And why do most dentists recommend them for extraction? Find out here as we gather interesting information about these troublesome third molars.
Wisdom teeth haven’t served any purpose for hundreds of thousands of years. Unlike prehistoric man, today’s humans prefer softer foods, and besides our cooking and eating tools make it possible that we don’t anymore use our wisdom teeth.

The number of wisdom teeth varies from person to person. Genetic factors might determine the number of wisdom teeth that a person has, like jaw size. This variation can be attributed to a random genetic mutation, thereby preventing the formation of wisdom teeth. This mutation is more prevalent in certain populations.

In most cases, wisdom teeth erupt when in the late teens or early twenties, but there’s the phenomenon of isolated cases of wisdom tooth erupting later in age. The oldest known case of an impacted tooth was found in the skeleton of a 25-35 year-old woman who died some 15,000 years ago. This case cast doubt on the theory that impacted teeth are a modern ailment, caused by recent changes in our dietary habits.

Wisdom tooth, in English, conveys the idea that third molars come in later than other teeth, when one is older and supposedly wiser. In Korean, third molars translates to “love teeth,” because they erupt around the time when teens or those in their 20s typically experience their first love. In Japanese, wisdom tooth is creatively called oyashirazu, or “unknown to parents,” since most people have already moved away from home by the time their wisdom teeth come in.

Although still in the experimental phase, scientists are studying dental stem cells, discovered in 2003, to see if they can potentially be used to repair and regenerate tissue. There are studies with dental pulp cells being used to treat neurological disorders and problems in the eye and others.

Being Smart with Wisdom Teeth in Seattle

If your wisdom tooth is giving you problems or pain, make an appointment at Smile Art in downtown Seattle for consultation. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of of a problematic wisdom tooth.