What’s the deal with wisdom teeth? They seem like more of a nuisance than anything…

This third set of molars usually starts to form between the ages of 17-21, thus named wisdom teeth, since they come in last and according to the saying, “with age comes wisdom”. I think I’d question the wisdom of most 17-21 year olds, to be honest, but that’s another topic for another time.

It’s surprising to discover that ALL the teeth a person will have in their lifetime are already formed by birth; they hang out in the upper part of the skeleton until it’s their time to appear. Another intriguing fact: some people have wisdom teeth and some don’t. Men typically have more than women, and sometimes, wisdom teeth camp out in the gums, and a person may not even know they exist!

Years ago, wisdom teeth were essential to daily life, because humans needed them for grinding hard foods like nuts, roots and leaves. Now, food is softer and easier to chew, so wisdom teeth are less crucial.

In fact, they often cause problems. The jaw is fully developed around the age of 18. But then, wisdom teeth start to break through, and the mouth often doesn’t have enough room for them. This explains why wisdom teeth get pulled on a regular basis.

Your best bet is to visit the dentist and have them look at the shape of your mouth and position of your teeth to make an educated decision about next steps for your oral health.