10 Fun (and Not-So-Fun) Facts About Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom Teeth: A Rite of Passage
For most of our lives, we are concerned about the potential risks of losing our teeth. However, as we reach young adulthood, there is a period where we have the opposite problem and instead we find ourselves with too many teeth.
As outlandish as it sounds, that’s basically what happens when the third molars, or wisdom teeth, begin to emerge. Here are some facts that can help you understand and get more comfortable with the idea of getting these teeth removed.
What are wisdom teeth?
Not counting wisdom teeth, a healthy adult mouth contains 32 teeth. However, many people have as many as four additional teeth that emerge later than the others. You already have two molars in each quadrant of your mouth. These teeth are a third set of molars that the mouth usually doesn’t have enough room for.
Why do we have them if we don’t need them, and why do most people end up needing them removed? Experts don’t always agree, with some thinking that they served as replacements back when people were more likely to lose multiple teeth by adulthood.
What are some fun facts about these teeth?
Here are some fun facts you might not know about wisdom teeth.
1. When do wisdom teeth come in?
These teeth are the very last teeth to emerge. They typically come in between the ages of 17 and 24, but this can vary. Some people have their third molars emerge much later.
2. Why are they called wisdom teeth?
In English-speaking countries, the third molars are almost always called the wisdom teeth. This is because they come in around the start of adulthood, signifying that the person has become wiser.
3. Why doesn’t everyone have third molars?
While most people have wisdom teeth, a large fraction do not. This is a natural variation, with some people having no need for these teeth to be removed at any point.
4. Is wisdom teeth removal a common procedure?
5. Do elephants really have wisdom teeth too?
Many animals have teeth similar to wisdom teeth that come in later in life. Elephants can have as many as six sets of this type of teeth come in, providing a replacement as earlier teeth wear down.
6. Can you have different numbers of third molars?
The most common number of wisdom teeth is two, but that isn’t always the case. You can have four in total, a set on both the top and bottom. In rare cases, some people have one or three.
7. Are wisdom teeth common around the world?
Various cultures view third molars in different ways. In Korea, for instance, they’re often called love teeth, signifying the time in a person’s life when they find their first love. That said, “wisdom teeth” is a common term across cultures because the idea dates back to Ancient Greece.
8. What role do ancient diets play?
Wisdom teeth may have played an important role in prehistoric diets. Before agriculture and cooking, human diets were made of coarser foods that were much more difficult to chew.
9. What are some future treatment prospects?
Dental technology is always evolving, and that includes how we deal with wisdom teeth. Research is underway to find methods to halt the growth of third molars to avoid the need for removal altogether.
10. When is it more than just tooth problems?
The pressure caused by wisdom tooth emergence and impaction can affect more than just your other teeth. It can also impact the jaw, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and sinuses.
Why is wisdom teeth removal so common?
Most people have wisdom teeth, so why do so many need wisdom tooth removal? The simple fact of the matter is that people rarely have room in their mouths for those extra teeth. There are plenty of different views about why that is, but here and now, our top priority is ensuring your oral health.
When wisdom teeth come in without enough room, they can cause a number of issues. They can impact against other teeth, the gums, or the jawbone, turning sideways and getting stuck. They push your other teeth out of place, leading to crowding and misalignment. If you avoid wisdom tooth removal, you might need orthodontic treatment to fix your smile.
Don’t put off your wisdom tooth removal.
Hopefully, understanding a bit more about your wisdom teeth and their removal has helped assuage any concerns you might have. You can always visit the best dentist in Virginia Beach to discuss your treatment further and to learn more about your unique smile.
At King Dental, we focus on providing comfort dentistry that delivers the best patient experience possible. You can ensure your long-term oral health with wisdom tooth removal while remaining calm and comfortable. Schedule an appointment today to find out more.