Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually come in after adolescence, appearing between the ages of 17 and 21. The purpose of wisdom teeth is not known with certainty, though it is hypothesized that they may be vestiges of the jaw structure of prehistoric humans. Our ancestors would often experience tooth wear from regular use, sometimes losing molars, so a third set of molars that appear later than other permanent teeth could have helped replace the missing bite power.
Over time, our jaws have become smaller and our diets have softened, allowing our current molars to last longer. It is therefore theorized that we may have evolved to a point where wisdom teeth are now obsolete, and for many people they are more of a hindrance than a benefit. Not all dental professionals agree, but many dentists do recommend their patients get their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens to early 20’s, before they emerge from the gums.
Reasons for Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed
While not all people need to get their wisdom teeth removed, health problems associated with them are common. These include:
Not everybody needs to get their wisdom teeth removed, and for some people they come in with no problems at all. When your wisdom teeth first show up in dental x-rays, consult your dentist about which choice will be best for you and your mouth.