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Wisdom Tooth: Facts & Myths

The wisdom tooth gets its name from the fact that it doesn’t appear until we’re old enough and wise enough to deserve it…that’s just one of the many myths and legends that have arisen around the subject of wisdom teeth over the years. The truth is that they do arrive late – they are the third and final set of molars that most of us will get and they tend to make their presence felt in our teens or early twenties. As no one really knows why wisdom teeth exist, or what makes them appear in some mouths and not others, there are plenty of mysteries surrounding them – here are just a few:

Myth:

“Everyone’s wisdom teeth are the same”

Fact:

Actually we all have a different experience when it comes to wisdom teeth. Some of us might have four, some two and some people don’t get any at all. This has nothing to do with how wise you are, just your body makeup.

Myth:

“Wisdom teeth don’t serve a purpose.”

Fact:

The purpose of your wisdom teeth is to make chewing easier so they’re not just there for decoration or to make you feel old and wise. According to anthropologists, these are the teeth our ancestors evolved to deal with a diet heavy in leaves, roots, nuts and meats.

Myth:

“You should remove wisdom teeth when you’re young.”

Fact:

There’s no age at which you should remove wisdom teeth – in fact, some of us don’t ever have to remove them at all. The decision about removing wisdom teeth is made on the basis of whether they’re causing pain and how they affect your mouth – age has nothing to do with it.

Myth:

“You must have wisdom teeth removed before having any orthodontic work done.”

Fact:

Your dentist may recommend that you have wisdom teeth removed to make more space in your mouth to resolve a specific problem. However, there are plenty of orthodontic procedures where wisdom teeth have no impact.

Myth:

“You’ll know if you have wisdom teeth before they come out.”

Fact:

Early in life, the only way to know whether you have wisdom teeth is to have an x-ray. A wisdom tooth will only grow through the gums in late teens or early twenties.

These are just a few of the myths that surround these most mysterious of teeth. If you’re experiencing tooth pain or dental problems then it’s worth getting your wisdom teeth checked.

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