Does everyone get wisdom teeth?

We've all heard about wisdom teeth, those late bloomers that tend to make their appearance during our late teens or early twenties.

They're often the subject of tales about dental woes and extractionThe process or act of removing a tooth or tooth parts. sagas. But do all of us get these notorious third molars?

The truth about widsom teeth

Contrary to common belief, not everyone gets wisdom teeth. In fact, according to scientific research, the occurrence of wisdom teeth varies significantly across different populations.

While some individuals develop all four wisdom teeth, others may get fewer or none.

This variation is a product of evolution. Historically, our ancestors needed these extra molars for their diet, which consisted of rough foods that required a lot of grinding.

However, as human diets changed and evolved, so did our jaws, becoming smaller over time. As a result, there's often not enough room for wisdom teeth to grow properly, leading to potential dental issues like impaction and crowding.

Hence, from an evolutionary standpoint, not developing wisdom teeth may be an advantage.

How do I know if I have wisdom teeth?

The only sure-fire way to know if you have wisdom teeth is through a dental X-ray. This imaging technique allows dentists to see what's happening beneath your gums, including the presence of any wisdom teeth, whether they're growing in the right direction or likely to cause problems. 

Wisdom teeth: A blessing or a curse?

While wisdom teeth can be perfectly healthy and aligned in some people, they can cause significant issues in others. Problems such as impaction, where the wisdom tooth doesn't have enough room to emerge or grow, can lead to pain, damage to other teeth, and potential infections. If your dentist identifies such issues, extraction might be recommended to prevent future problems.

Taking care of your wisdom teeth

If you're among the group that gets wisdom teeth and they're healthy, they can be treated like any other tooth. Regular brushing, flossing, and dental check-ups are crucial to ensure they stay in good condition.
However, if you experience any discomfort or swelling in the area where a wisdom tooth should be, it's important to seek dental advice as soon as possible.

Please note that this article is for patient information purposes only. The information provided is based on guidance available at the time of writing, which may subsequently change. Please consult your own dentist with any individual queries.