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Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Aug 30 2019

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

All of the teeth a person will ever have are present at birth, sitting higher up in the skull structure. First, a set of 20 baby teeth erupts and falls out. Then 32 permanent teeth grow in. The first set of molars usually becomes visible at age 6, the second set around 12, and the final set, commonly known as wisdom teeth, appear sometime before age 21.

Teeth are categorised by their placement and function. The sharper teeth can tear food into smaller pieces and the flatter teeth grind food down. Wisdom teeth are the flatter kind of teeth, called molars. Molars are all the way in the back of your mouth. Adults get three sets of molars on top and bottom, and on both sides of the mouth.

How Frequently Do People Get Wisdom Teeth?

Once essential for an early human diet of roots, leaves, meat, and nuts, wisdom teeth are no longer totally necessary. Today, humans cook food to soften it, and we can cut and crush it with utensils. 

Anthropologists believe humans have evolved beyond needing wisdom teeth, so quite a number of people actually never get them.

However, just because you don’t see all of your wisdom teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Sometimes wisdom teeth don’t ever erupt and won’t ever become visible. An X-ray can confirm if you have wisdom teeth under your gums.

Whether visible or not, wisdom teeth can cause oral health problems. Wisdom teeth that haven’t erupted through the gums are called impacted. Sometimes this can cause even more problems than visible wisdom teeth

Photo Credit: Alkali Aesthetics

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Human jaws have evolved to become smaller over time. Our diet and dental needs have also changed drastically. Smaller jaws mean there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for all the teeth we’re supposed to have.

Most jaws are done growing by the time a person is 18 years old, but most wisdom teeth emerge when a person is around 19.5 years old. Most problems caused by wisdom teeth are due to the fact that they just don’t fit.

Problems Associated with Wisdom Teeth Include:

– Crooked Teeth
– Crowded Teeth
– Impacted Teeth
– Increased Tooth Decay
– Jaw Pain
– Possible Cysts and Tumours


It’s recommended that teenagers be evaluated for wisdom teeth removal surgery. People who get their wisdom teeth removed at a younger age tend to heal better from surgery, before the roots and bone have fully formed. This can help avoid any potential problems before they start.

Sometimes dentists will recommend wisdom tooth removal before any orthodontic work, like braces, to ensure that these teeth don’t erupt later and undo all the hard work of shaping your jaw and teeth.

If you’re unsure about your wisdom teeth, book an appointment with TAG Dental and we will evaluate your dental situation to minimise any discomfort and problems that may occur later on.

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