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Why Are Wisdom Teeth Called Wisdom Teeth?

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Called Wisdom Teeth?

We all know the joy – or perhaps the pain – of wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are what we call third molars: those thick, four-cusped teeth at the back of our mouths that we use to grind and chew food.

But why are wisdom teeth called ‘wisdom teeth’ and what’s so wise about them?

Getting Wise With Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are generally known for their arrival later in life, usually erupting between the ages 17 and 25 (though they can sometimes come earlier or later). They are thought to be called ‘wisdom teeth’ simply because we get them when we are older, “wiser” and in our adult years.

Fun Fact: In Japan, wisdom teeth are called oyashirazu, which means ‘without the parents knowing.’ In the Netherlands, the shortened, spoken word for rear molars, verstandskiezen, can also sound like the English word ‘wisdom’ when pronounced.

Common Wisdom Teeth Problems

Unfortunately, getting your wisdom teeth does not make you any craftier! In fact, wisdom teeth can cause many problems in adults and wisdom teeth extraction is fairly common. Why is this?

  • Wisdom teeth can come through crooked, pushing into other teeth and gums
  • Wisdom teeth can become impacted, staying beneath the gum line and causing issues in the mouth and jaw
  • Wisdom teeth can also only partially erupt, meaning they do not come through fully
  • If the tooth is not in the right place or if the mouth is overcrowded, it can also cause difficulties in cleaning, which can lead to other problems like decay, infection, swelling and pain

Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Having wisdom teeth removed is something that many adults go through, particularly if the teeth are causing pain or if your family dentist advises that they will become problematic in future.

Wisdom teeth extractions are considered routine procedures for many dentists. Easy extractions can usually be performed in the dentist chair, while more complex removals may require you to see a specialist or surgeon.

You many need a wisdom teeth extraction if you notice:

  • Pain around the tooth or in the rear of your mouth
  • Swelling or stiffness in your mouth, gums or jaw
  • Bleeding gums
  • Irritation or pain because your mouth is too overcrowded

Your family dentist will be able to assess your wisdom teeth quickly and help you determine if they are causing any short or long-term problems.

A good dentist will also take x-rays of your teeth and talk through your wisdom teeth issues with you before any decisions are made.

Do you need a reliable, friendly dentist who knows about wisdom teeth? Contact Somerset Dental Care to book in your appointment or phone 02 4648 0909.