Do All People Get Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are clinically referred to as the third molars. An average person has four wisdom teeth, one for each corner of the upper and lower jaw. They are the final set of teeth to erupt and appear behind the last tooth in each section. The name is derived from the fact that they erupt in a person's mouth usually between the ages of 17 and 25, when it is expected that the person is wiser or starts seeking wisdom.

Facts about wisdom teeth

Recent studies have shown that not everyone will get wisdom teeth. It is estimated that up to 35 percent of people are missing one or more wisdom teeth. There are multiple explanations for why the wisdom teeth may be absent in the mouth.

One explanation is that they may be present but have not come out yet. A wisdom tooth may not form if they are impacted, meaning that there is insufficient space on the jaw for their growth and they may remain reticent in the jawbone for several years.

Lack of wisdom teeth may also be genetic. A study done by Princeton University revealed that evolution plays a significant role in the absence of wisdom teeth. The study explained that expanding brain size over thousands of years indicated that the head no longer had the size required to allow for a larger brain and extra teeth. The alteration in jaw structure means that the extra teeth are no longer needed since the first and second molars are enough for chewing. The lack of wisdom teeth will not affect your ability to eat properly.

Critics of evolution place more significance on the nutritional modification that has happened over the years in humans, which has reduced our dependence on wisdom teeth. This theory counters the argument for evolving jaw and brains. However, a comparison between the prehistoric jaw and modern jaw shows that there is a slight difference in size and space.

Should you be worried if you do not have wisdom teeth?

There is no need to be worried. Absence of wisdom teeth is a common occurrence nowadays. You may even discover that your parents or grandparents are missing these teeth. Lack of wisdom teeth will not limit your ability to chew in any way. It may even be a thing to be grateful for because wisdom teeth are sometimes known to wreak havoc in the mouth and cause pain.

Impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are considered impacted if there is not enough space for them to erupt into the jaw or they come out at an awkward angle or unexpected location. Poor eruption or positioning can lead to pain and infections. Even if the wisdom tooth forms without any issue, it could cause issues later in life because they are sometimes harder to clean due to their location in the mouth.

In summary

Wisdom teeth may erupt, but if they do not, there is nothing wrong with you. There is an increasing number of people living without wisdom teeth. It is safe to say they have outlived their usage and are gradually phasing out.

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