Wisdom teeth themselves are not dangerous but they can cause serious dental problems if they do not have enough space to emerge properly. In this article you will learn about these teeth in plain language.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to emerge in the human mouth, typically appearing in the late teenage years or early adulthood. These teeth are located at the back of the mouth, one on each side on both the upper and lower jaw, and are usually the last to emerge.
Does everyone have wisdom teeth?
No, not everyone has wisdom teeth. Some people may only have one or two of them, while others may have none at all. The presence of these teeth can vary depending on genetics and evolution. In some populations, such as the Inuit, wisdom teeth are rare, while in others, such as certain Indigenous groups in Africa and Asia, they are more common. It’s also possible for some people to have extra wisdom teeth, a condition known as supernumerary teeth. However, in most cases, it is determined by individual genetics.
How many wisdom teeth do you have?
Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw. But some people may have fewer or none at all, and in rare cases, some people may have more.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
The reason why we have wisdom teeth is still not entirely clear, but it is believed to be a remnant of our evolutionary past. Our distant ancestors, who had larger jaws and ate a diet of tougher foods, needed extra molars to help them chew and grind their food properly. However, as humans evolved and our diets changed, our jaws became smaller, and we no longer needed these extra molars.
Today, these teeth are often considered vestigial structures, meaning they serve no real purpose and can even cause problems such as overcrowding or impaction. As a result, many people have their wisdom teeth removed through a dental surgery procedure.
What age do these teeth come in?
Wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge between the ages of 17 and 25, which is why they are often called “third molars.” However, the exact age at which they emerge can vary widely among individuals. Some people may start to experience symptoms associated with the eruption of these teeth, such as swelling, pain, or discomfort, before the teeth actually emerge through the gums. Others may not even be aware that their wisdom teeth are coming in until they have already fully erupted.
It’s worth noting that some people may never develop wisdom teeth at all, while others may have them emerge at a younger or older age than the typical range.
The timing of wisdom tooth eruption can vary depending on genetic factors, diet, and other factors that are not yet fully understood.
Signs and symptoms!
The symptoms of wisdom teeth can vary depending on the individual and their specific situation. Here are some common symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth or jaw
- Swelling, redness, or inflammation around the gum line
- Gum sensitivity or bleeding around the area where the tooth is erupting
- Difficulty opening the mouth or discomfort while chewing
- Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
- Headaches or earaches
- Shifting or crowding of other teeth
It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these symptoms, and some people may not even know that their wisdom teeth are coming in until they visit a dentist for a routine checkup. However, if you do experience any of the above symptoms, it’s best to consult a dentist for an evaluation, as these symptoms may indicate a problem with your teeth that requires treatment.
Read also: What is the purpose of wisdom teeth?