So one of our readers asked us this question the other day: Why do our Wisdom Teeth all of a sudden decide to come through?

ANSWER

Teeth have what is called an Eruption schedule. These are age ranges for when any tooth (both baby teeth and adult teeth) are scheduled to start poking through the gums. The schedule is more of a guideline for dentists to follow. Some teeth are known (especially the wisdom teeth) to come in earlier, later, or not at all. For instance: A typical 6 year old is expected to have all of their primary teeth, the permanent first molar (both arches), and permanent mandibular (bottom teeth) central incisors (the two front teeth) appearing. In the case of Wisdom teeth, their eruption schedule is 17-21 years of age.

Third molars, more commonly known as Wisdom teeth are the last tooth to appear in the mouth. They are the last tooth in the permanent set to begin calcification at around 8-11 years of age. This means they are the last tooth to begin formation and differentiation. Prior to calcification, it will appear as a tooth bud. This is a collection of cells that have begun to differentiate into various parts that help form and create the tooth.

Most oral surgeons try to get Wisdom teeth out before full root completion. Guideline for root completion is 2-3 years after the tooth has erupted. This is why oral surgeons will extract the Wisdom tooth slightly after they start poking through the gum line.

So why do they have to go?  Third molars are extremely hard to cleanse and are prone to decay. They are the most likely teeth to be the cause of an infection. Also third molar can mess with the occlusion once erupted. You are very likely to have problems with third molars with a modern lifespan and diet. When you lose a tooth the teeth behind it move mesially or toward the front of the face, third molars moving forward. Without dental care our ancestors would have lost teeth by 25-30 and the 3rd molars could move into place.

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Last Update: June 30, 2016

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