Over the course of human evolution, you would think that every organ in your body serves a critical function. On the contrary, you have a few body parts that are essentially functionless. These include your tailbone, the appendix, and your wisdom teeth.
But why have humans retained these body parts if they no longer serve a purpose?
There are a few possible reasons why you still have these body parts. For one, evolution does not happen in an instant. Instead, it can take thousands or even millions of years.
Another possible reason is that these organs pose no harm or disadvantage to humans.
Wisdom teeth: a vestige of the past
But what about wisdom teeth: why do humans still possess these if these are practically useless?
Before the discovery and development of agriculture, humans relied heavily on plants for their diets. But unlike other creatures that could digest cellulose, humans had to rely on their wisdom teeth to grind plant matter.
Things changed with the advent of agriculture. Agriculture paved the way for people to be able to eat softer, high energy food. This, in turn, has rendered wisdom teeth obsolete.
Another effect of this change toward a softer diet is the direction by which the human jaw grows. Compared to prehistoric humans, modern humans have jaws that do grow less forward. This development means that there is little room left to accommodate wisdom teeth.
To remove or not
Apart from being essentially functionless, wisdom teeth pose a few dental problems.
Your dentist may recommend the removal of your wisdom teeth for a variety of reasons. One of the risks of having wisdom teeth is impaction where the mouth cannot accommodate the eruption of more teeth because there is little room for them. If the wisdom tooth erupts, it may do so at an awkward angle and push adjacent teeth. Wisdom teeth also can push the adjacent teeth causing damage, pain, and bite problems.
The gums near the surrounding area can become inflamed, leading to swelling. In turn, swollen gums can cause the formation of pockets. These pockets can harbor bacteria, causing the formation of cavities.
Before your dentist recommends the extraction of your wisdom teeth, he has to consider a few critical factors. Chief of these is the shape of your mouth in relation to the position of your other teeth. He may also recommend the procedure while you are young because extraction and recovery are easier for younger people.
Issues related to wisdom teeth may not be readily apparent, and your dentist may give you time to observe your condition before deciding whether you want to get your wisdom teeth removed.
Even if your wisdom teeth may not show symptoms, your dentist may recommend extraction for a few reasons. For one, your wisdom teeth can still harbor disease-causing microorganisms.
If there is no room for new teeth in your mouth, you won’t be able to clean your mouth correctly, leading to further complications.
What to expect
Wisdom teeth removal, Fort Lauderdale locals ought to know, is typically performed in a dental office. However, if the wisdom tooth is impacted or requires surgery, you may need to see a specialist inoral surgery in Fort Lauderdale.
Before proceeding with the actual procedure, your dentist will administer anesthesia. The choice of which type of anesthesia will depend heavily on the complexity of the procedure as well as your comfort level. Your dentist may use sedation, or a local or general anesthesia.
To extract a wisdom tooth, your dentist will need to make an incision. This incision exposes the wisdom tooth and the bone beneath it. Upon exposure of the bone, your dentist may remove parts that obstruct the tooth’s root.
To facilitate faster extraction, the tooth is divided into smaller pieces. After removal, the area where the wisdom tooth is located is cleaned. After that, the area will be stitched to facilitate healing.
The procedure concludes with the placement of gauze over the extraction area.
If your dentist administered a local anesthetic, it would take a relatively short period to recover. However, if your dentist administered sedation or general anesthesia, you will have to stay in a recovery room.
Before sending you home, your dentist will provide you with instructions to facilitate faster recovery and prevent complications. Be sure to follow these carefully.
It is natural for the extraction area to bleed during your first day of recovery. As much as possible, avoid unnecessary spitting as this can dislodge the blood clot. Follow your dentist’s instructions about replacing the gauze.
Your dentist will prescribe over-the-counter medication pain. If bone has been removed during the extraction, you may need prescription pain medication.
Swelling and bruising are normal. To counter swelling, you can apply a cold pack on your cheeks. The swelling usually subsides after two to three days while bruising takes several days to vanish.
On the day of your extraction, you will be asked to rest up for the rest of the day. The following day and up to a week, you should avoid strenuous activities.
On the first day, you can only eat soft foods. You should consume plenty of liquids during the first day. Avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine, or carbonation. Do not consume hard, chewy, or spicy foods and hot beverages. Do not use straws for up to a week to prevent dislodging the blood cloth.
For the first 24 hours after surgery, you shouldn’t brush your teeth, rinse with water or mouthwash, or spit excessively. You can clean your mouth the following day. However, be gentle, especially around the extraction area.
Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Excessive bleeding
- Severe pain
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- Oozing in the extraction area
- Nasal discharge
So, if your wisdom teeth are giving you any pain or discomfort, be sure to consult with your dentist.