It’s interesting that we call our largest molars “wisdom teeth.” While there are many stories about the origin of the term, a favorite revolves around the literal meaning. Wisdom teeth generally don’t erupt until you’re a young adult. This can be anywhere from 17-25 years old. Since these teeth emerge so much later than our “adult teeth,” we assume at the age they appear, one has more “wisdom.”
While this can be a reach for some people (not you though!) most young adults have much more knowledge and wisdom at 25 than they did when their adult teeth came in around age 7. But just because you’re smarter doesn’t mean you know all there is to know about if and when you should have your wisdom teeth removed. That piece of knowledge usually comes with experience.
Wisdom teeth tend to vary greatly in how they erupt. In some people, these molars may never erupt. In others they may erupt normally and not disrupt your mouth structure at all (lucky, lucky!). Others have their wisdom teeth removed because they are erupting in an unusual direction and can cause problems with the rest of the teeth in your mouth.
Wisdom teeth extraction sounds scarier than it actually is. Sometimes extractions can happen with only local anesthetic to numb the area of removal. General anesthesia can be used if the teeth haven’t yet erupted or if they are growing in an awkward angle. Either way, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure.
In most cases, recovery only takes a few days, so you should be back at work (or school) shortly after the procedure. Some dentists may recommend taking a bit longer to recover, but remember: each case if different. If your wisdom teeth are bothering you, go see a dentist!
Keep in mind: just because you have your wisdom teeth removed, doesn’t mean you lose your wisdom! (Sorry, I had to say it!)