The official name for wisdom teeth is the third molars. They are present in the back of your mouth and are the last permanent teeth to come in. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant. However, you can have none, fewer, or more wisdom teeth (extra third molars are supernumerary teeth). But have you ever wondered why the third molars are called wisdom teeth? Read on to find out.
How did wisdom teeth get their name?
Wisdom teeth got their name because their eruption is a major dental milestone that usually occurs between the ages of 17 and 25 years when a person is supposedly wiser and more mature.
Why do wisdom teeth come in so late?
Wisdom teeth come in so late because there isn’t enough room in the jaw when you are a child to accommodate these teeth. Once you are older, your jaw grows in size and has space for your wisdom teeth. However, sometimes, the wisdom teeth do not erupt at all or partially erupt, leading to impacted teeth which need to be removed. Many people think of wisdom teeth removal as a rite of passage in their teens or early 20s.
Do wisdom teeth mean you are wise?
Unfortunately, no. Wisdom teeth do not make a person wiser. They got their name because they usually appear in the mouth when people typically become wiser and more sensible. But having wisdom teeth does not guarantee that you won’t do anything foolish.
Are wisdom teeth lucky?
Many people keep a pulled wisdom tooth as a lucky charm. There’s a myth surrounding wisdom teeth that if they come in late you will be blessed with a long life. However, there’s no scientific basis to this.
If you are not sure if your wisdom teeth have erupted or need to come out, a dentist can take a look and tell you if you need to have them removed. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about what to expect during wisdom teeth extractions. And if you’ve already had a wisdom tooth taken out, read some precautions, including sleeping position after wisdom teeth removal.
About the author
Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo DDS studied at the University of Washington where he received a bachelors degree with Honors and later attended dental school on the same campus. Following school Dr. Greg served in the United States Navy as a dental officer. During this time he received advanced training in specialty areas of dentistry while also treating families of members of the military.
As well as sharing valuable information on dentistry and oral health, Dr. Greg remains a practicing dentist to this day. He works with families in the Okanogan Valley where he lives with his wife and three children.