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4 basic facts about wisdom teeth you probably didn't know

  
  
  

chipmunk wisdom toothYou might have had your wisdom teeth removed or at least heard of someone getting their wisdom teeth removed.

Wisdom teeth surgery is typically a good excuse to lounge around the house for a couple days, eating copious amounts of ice cream and popping some pleasant pain relievers. But there are a few things about wisdom teeth surgeries that might surprise you...

1) Wisdom teeth can produce stem cells – In 2008, Japanese researchers discovered that induced pluripotent stem cells could be harvested from wisdom teeth. This means that people who have their wisdom teeth extracted can choose to preserve their teeth in case they need the stem cells later in life.

2) You can now have those stem cells harvested and cryogenically frozen for the day you need them. It surprises most people to hear that the cost of banking your dental stem cells from wisdom teeth is about the same as the price of your daily cup of coffee. More info on pricing...

3) Impacted wisdom teeth are an ancient problem – The oldest known impacted wisdom tooth belonged to an unfortunate European woman who lived roughly 15,000 years ago during the Magdalenian period (13,000-18,000 B.C.). The skeleton of the woman was first discovered in France in 1911 and acquired by the Field Museum in Chicago in 1926. For nearly 100 years, the skeleton was known as the “Magdalenian Girl” because her wisdom teeth had apparently not yet erupted. However, new analysis revealed that her wisdom teeth were actually impacted, meaning that they had stopped growing before they completely broke the surface of the gum line. The “Magdalenian Girl” was actually a Magdalenian woman with some pretty bad jaw pain.

4) Some people don’t have wisdom teeth – In fact, 35% of the population never develops wisdom teeth. Researchers have a number of theories as to why this may be the case. Some say that evolution may be the culprit. Humans simply don’t need the teeth for survival anymore. Other researchers see it as a cultural phenomenon which depends on how different cultures use their jaws. For instance, in parts of East Asia, it’s more common to find people without wisdom teeth.

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