The teeth of judgment are the dental cross of anyone who experiences them. These are molars which, following the transition from milk teeth to adult teeth, emerge from the gum late, approximately between 16 and 25 years of life. But why do judgment teeth come out so late? Do they have any use?
Answering this question is relatively simple, as a recent study suggests that late onset is due to the lack of space in the jaw of children. With growth, also bone scaffolding where the dentition is lodged is subject to enlargement, allowing late molars to have place in the mouth. They are called molars of judgment precisely because they appear in a period of life in which one should be more conscientious.
However, the molars of judgment are known for the various problems they may cause. Many human jaws do not have sufficient growth to allow optimal grafting of these molars. This can result in incorrect alignment of teeth and the arrival of very painful dental pathologies, which force most to remove the teeth of judgment.
The origin of the least development of today’s jaws is related to a greater consumption of soft foods, unlike our ancestors who adopted diets consisting of tenacious foods, such as nuts, raw vegetables and game. In relation to ancient humans, a past study has shown the oral hygiene techniques of our ancestors.
The jaws of the young men of human ancestors, being subject to such coriaceous feeding, followed in growth, producing longer and robust jaws. This phenomenon has been lacking in today’s consumer society, where food is consumed much softer.
Another reason that delays the release of the teeth of the judgment is precisely the late need of their use in the young adults of the species, who experienced the transition from a soft nutrition, made of breast milk and easy to chew, to a wide range of foods of greater hardness. Because of the consumption of persistent foods, perpetrated by our ancestors, the additional’molars’ represented a kind of prevention, if other teeth were to be broken or dropped.
“They are understood as a sort of backup for someone who may have lost another molar tooth,” said Steven Kupferman, a surgeon at the Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. The biological mechanism, therefore, provides for a form of substitution of the molars eventually lost during childhood or adolescence with the late arrival of the molars of judgment.
Today’s dentists tend to remove judgment teeth because their escape often coincides with problems of the oral cavity and pains of a certain intensity.
But should judgment teeth necessarily be removed?
It’s all about space available. Often, in fact, it can happen that, abounding in the maxillary space, there is no need to remove the molars, as their appearance is grafted without problems in the oral cavity.
It should be pointed out, however, that even if an individual does not show pain, the removal of judgment teeth in the first part of adult life can help prevent unpleasant future health problems. Dental experts avoid such preventive removals after the 27th year of age as they would expose themselves to complications, including nerve damage, but if the pain comes anyone can have them removed.
However, it does not happen to everyone to experience the removal of the teeth of judgment. In fact, “Even today, when people are being extracted for braces, they often keep judgment teeth because there is enough room for them,” concludes Kupferman.
And if you are as tenacious “mordictors” as I am, you will be interested in knowing if the habit of chewing ice really hurts your teeth.