Do All People Have Wisdom Teeth?

by | Mar 25, 2024 | General Orthodontics, Orthodontic Treatments, tooth sensitivity | 0 comments

You’ve heard friends and family talk about their experiences—some sharing tales of extraction, while others seem unaffected. This might make you wonder, “Do all people have wisdom teeth?”

While they are known as a common rite of passage into adulthood, only some have a story to tell about them. Some of us may have had these teeth emerge without a hitch, others might have faced dental visits for extraction or braces, and interestingly, a few might not have them at all.

Let’s explore the fascinating world of wisdom teeth. Why do some people have them while others don’t? Are they a necessary part of our dental anatomy or just a relic of the past?

Whether you’re a curious teenager, a concerned parent, or just someone interested in the peculiarities of human anatomy, this topic offers a bit of wisdom to everyone!

 

What Are Wisdom Teeth, and Why Do We Have Them?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last to develop and emerge in the human mouth. Typically, people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth, although it’s not uncommon for some to have fewer or none.

These teeth usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, a time often associated with increased maturity and wisdom, hence the name.

Historically, wisdom teeth served a crucial function for our ancestors, who had a diet consisting of raw meats, leaves, roots, and other foods that required more chewing power.

The extra set of molars helped grind down tough food. With the evolution of cooking and changes in the human diet, these teeth have become less necessary.

 

Why Do Some People Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth x-ray

Wisdom teeth removal is a standard oral surgery procedure, often recommended because many wisdom teeth become impacted. This means they need more room to emerge or develop normally.

They can grow at various angles, sometimes even horizontally, or be trapped within the jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to dental problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and infection, as they are hard to clean and can cause damage to surrounding teeth.

Wisdom tooth pain is another reason for removal. When these teeth push through the gum, many people experience pain, discomfort, and sometimes even severe pain.

This can lead to eating difficulties and cause other teeth problems. A special visit to a dentist is crucial, especially in your late teens and early twenties, to monitor the development of wisdom teeth and decide whether they need to be removed.

 

How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth X-ray

Determining whether you have wisdom teeth begins with understanding the signs and undergoing a dental examination.

You might feel discomfort or pain in the back of your mouth as the third molars push through the gums. However, not everyone experiences pain, so it’s not the sole indicator of their presence.

The most definitive way to know if you have wisdom teeth is through a dental X-ray. Dentists regularly perform these X-rays during check-ups, especially for patients in their late teens and early twenties.

The X-ray images can show whether the wisdom teeth are present, their growth direction, and if they are impacted—meaning they don’t have enough room to emerge properly.

 

Genetic Factors Influencing Wisdom Teeth Development

Wisdom teeth

Congenitally missing teeth, which include third molar agenesis (absence of one or more third molars), can be attributed to genetic factors. Research indicates that certain genes can determine whether you develop wisdom teeth and how many.

For instance, if your parents did not have all four wisdom teeth, you may also experience a similar development pattern or lack thereof.

Additionally, various associated dental anomalies, such as differences in jaw size or other permanent teeth, can influence the development and eruption of wisdom teeth.

 

Is It Rare Not to Have Wisdom Teeth?

It’s not particularly rare to be missing one or more wisdom teeth. Studies have shown that a significant percentage of the population worldwide experiences third molar agenesis.

This congenital absence is a part of human evolution, as our diets and jaw sizes have changed over time. In some cases, all four wisdom teeth might be missing.

 

Is It Rare to Have All 4 Wisdom Teeth?

Having all four wisdom teeth is quite common, but it’s becoming less prevalent due to evolutionary trends. When all four wisdom teeth develop, they often lead to overcrowding and can be prone to becoming impacted due to lack of space in the mouth.

Regular dental check-ups are essential to monitor the development of wisdom teeth, whether you have all four, just a few, or none.

A dental surgeon can advise whether wisdom teeth removal is necessary based on factors like tooth alignment, pain, and potential for dental problems.

 

What Is the Oldest Age You Can Get Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth most commonly emerge in patients between the late teens and early twenties. However, wisdom teeth can appear later in life.

The oldest age for wisdom teeth to emerge can vary, but there have been instances of people in their late thirties and even older experiencing the eruption of these teeth.

The timeline for the emergence of wisdom teeth is not set in stone and can be influenced by individual dental development and genetics.

In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth stuck in the jawbone may start moving and become noticeable only later in life, leading to dental problems or discomfort.

It’s essential for patients, irrespective of their age, to have regular dental check-ups. A dentist can advise if wisdom tooth removal is necessary and help manage any associated dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease.

 

Can I Predict if I’ll Get Wisdom Teeth?

Regular visits to your dentist for check-ups and dental X-rays can provide insights into the development of your wisdom teeth. These X-rays can reveal if the wisdom teeth are present, even before they emerge through the gums. They also show whether the teeth are impacted or if there’s enough room for them to grow without causing problems.

Dentists and oral surgeons assess factors like the age, the position of other teeth, and the health of the gums and surrounding teeth to predict the likelihood of wisdom teeth emergence and the potential need for their removal.

Wisdom tooth

Say Goodbye to Wisdom Tooth Woes with Dr. Lee in St. Mary’s County!

Contact Patuxent Orthodontics if wisdom tooth removal is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat, call (240) 802-7217, or message us through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary consultation!

Our office, located at 44220 Airport View Dr., Hollywood, MD 20636, proudly serves Maryland’s St Mary’s County, as well as the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Hollywood, Wildewood, or Leonardtown and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Maryland, don’t hesitate to visit our office!

We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!

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