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A Little Wisdom (Teeth) for You!

By Jill Feilmeier on August 30, 2012 in Dental Health

Girl sitting in dentist chair

I love that we call our largest molars “wisdom teeth”. While there are many stories about the origin of the term “wisdom teeth,” my favorite theory revolves around the literal meaning. Wisdom teeth generally don't erupt until one reaches young adulthood. This can be anywhere from 17-25 years old. Since these teeth emerge so much later than our “adult teeth,” we assume at the age they appear, one has more “wisdom.”

While this can be a reach for some people (not you though!) many young adults do actually have much more knowledge and wisdom at 25 than they did when their adult teeth came in around age 7. So next time someone wonders aloud why those molars are called wisdom teeth, you have an answer to give!

Wisdom teeth tend to vary greatly in how they erupt. In some people, these molars may never erupt. In other's mouths, they may erupt normally and not disrupt your mouth structure at all (lucky, lucky!). Others, like me, have our wisdom teeth removed because they are erupting in an unusual direction and can cause problems with the rest of the teeth in your mouth.

Wisdom teeth extraction sounds scarier than it actually is. Sometimes extractions could happen with only local anesthetic to numb the area of removal. General anesthesia could be used if the teeth have not yet erupted or if they are growing in an awkward angle. 

In most cases, recovery only takes a few days, so you could be back at work shortly after the procedure. Some dentists may recommend taking a bit longer to recover, but remember: each case if different. If your wisdom teeth are bothering you, go see a dentist! Keep in mind: just because you are removing your wisdom teeth, you still have your wisdom.