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How Long Have Wisdom Teeth Been Wise?

Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?

where did wisdom teeth come from

Are wisdom teeth really wise? Well, no. But they are the tooth world’s coming-of-age arrivals, erupting through the gums anywhere from late adolescence to early adulthood.

A Brief History of How Our Third Molars Became Wisdom Teeth

Our third molars were first called “teeth of wisdom” during the 17th century. The 19th century saw this term shortened to “wisdom teeth.” Wisdom teeth appear as early as around age 17 and as late as 25. Since this period was commonly considered the onset of adulthood, our third molars became known as wisdom teeth.

Today, science tells us that there is some credibility to this age-old concept of the third molar appearing after we, as maturing people, emerge from childhood feeling “wiser.” New research shows that our brains continue to grow and develop well into adolescence and beyond. The majority of researchers today say that our brains don’t attain complete maturity until the age of 25.That’s great! Except that just because our brains grow, that doesn’t mean our mouths grow enough to accommodate those coming-of-age heralds of adulthood. Sometimes, wisdom teeth removal becomes the “wise” choice.

It seems, then, that our ancestors already knew what science had yet to establish. The eruption of wisdom teeth is a harbinger of our crossing over to adulthood. The happy-go-lucky years of childhood must now pass the baton to the responsibilities of adulthood. But don’t worry if you’re a candidate for wisdom teeth removal. You’ll still be just as wise with or without them.

Kopp Dental & Associates

Address: 188 North York Road, Elmhurst, IL 60126
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