Fri. Aug 12th, 2022

Humans are known to take their time when it comes to adulthood and growing up. Amount all the great apes, only chimpanzees come in second place for humans when we talk about stretching the years between developmental milestones.

However, even chimpanzees develop a whole set of teeth before they reach sexual maturity. But why is it that homo sapiens do not grow their last set of teeth until they are almost out of their teens or well into adulthood?

What are wisdom teeth?

Teeth

(Photo: Shiny Diamond from Pexels)

Wisdom teeth, according to the Mayo Clinic, are the last pair of adult teeth that enter a person’s mouth. Most people have 2 sets of wisdom teeth. But others have complications when it comes to their wisdom teeth.

Affected wisdom teeth, the third molars on the back of the mouth, occur when there is not enough space for the teeth to fully protrude or develop. This can result in damage to other teeth, pain and other dental problems. In some cases, affected wisdom teeth may not cause immediate problems. However, as these are difficult to clean, they become susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems compared to other teeth.

Affected wisdom teeth that cause dental complications are often surgically removed. Some dentists also recommend removing affected teeth that do not cause symptoms to prevent attack of problems.

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Understanding why it takes a long time for wisdom teeth to develop

Researchers say that one of the persistent mysteries of human biological development is the precise synchronization between the appearance of molars and life history and how it is regulated.

Researchers began by collecting samples of different skills and comparing their development. Turn bones and teeth from 21 primate species into 3D models. Researchers were able to quantify the timing of adult molas and its relationship to the delicate balance of biomechanics in a person’s growing skulls.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, entitled “A Biomechanical Perspective on Molar Origin and Primate Life History,” explains that adult teeth used to grind food into pasty substances usually develop in our gums in three states, at 6, 12, and 18 years. Other primates, however, get the complete adult cheek teeth earlier. Despite human similarities to chimpanzee growth stages, these great apes get their cheek teeth at 3, 6, and 12 years old.

An important factor limiting the timing of teething seems to be space. If the sample jaw is not large enough to fit an adult-sized dental kit, there is no point in squeezing them further.

Humans do not have much mouth space as it is a big problem for humans when it comes to affected teeth. Gary Schwartz, co-author and a paleoanthropologist from the University of Arizona, explains that the human jaw grows slowly, probably because of the overall slow life stories, combined with short faces. The delay in the mechanical space provides the right place for wisdom teeth to emerge that coincide with human age.

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See more news and information on medicine and health at the Science Times.

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