Does everyone have wisdom teeth?
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars that typically form behind the standard first and second set of molars in the jaw. They are often referred to as third molars, and they’re the final set of chompers to grow in.
Why are they called wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth take their name from the time when they often appear. They typically begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 21, a time when many are attending college and learning about life after youth.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
For some, the teeth grow in perfectly straight and can be left alone and observed. For others, there’s no room in the mouth, or the wisdom teeth will only partially emerge through the gums.
Known as impacted wisdom teeth, these improperly angled teeth can upset alignment and even affect the jaw. They are also more susceptible to common oral health issues such as tooth decay.
According to Dr. Thomas Dodson, a professor and practitioner of oral and maxillofacial surgery, roughly 60% of his patients opt to have their wisdom teeth extracted.
If you don’t need them, why do we have wisdom teeth?
Research suggests that wisdom teeth are a leftover internal relic of a different time in the history of human beings. Many years ago, humans lived on a diet of food like roots, raw meats and firm leaves—things that made a lot of tearing and crushing a necessity. As such, early humans had a larger jaw and room for more teeth. Over time, dietary changes and improved technology effectively eliminated the need for a third set of molars.