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 season of life when we begin to mature after childhood.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
Roughly 60% of people opt to have their wisdom teeth extracted, and this is typically due to the fact that many grow in at an angle and can cause future problems.
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 the alignment and even affect the jaw. They are also more susceptible to common oral health issues such as decay and plaque.
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. As dietary intake began to change, so did the human body, effectively eliminating the need for a third set of molars.