Wisdom teeth are found in the very back of your mouth and are the last teeth to develop. They belong to a type of teeth called molars, which are wide and sturdy, fit for grinding food down. There are four wisdom teeth: upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right and they start their development at the age of 6-7 years of age when they can been seen on an x-ray. Since these teeth erupt after all other teeth, they may find that there is not enough room to erupt to, leading to their impaction. The reason there is not enough room for them to erupt stems from our evolution. Anthropologists believe wisdom teeth, or the third set of molars, were the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s early diet of coarse, rough food – like leaves, roots, nuts and meats – which required more chewing power and resulted in excessive wear of the teeth. The modern diet with its softer foods, has made the need for wisdom teeth nonexistent. As a result, evolutionary biologists now classify wisdom teeth as vestigial organs, or body parts that have become functionless due to evolution.
It is important to check the available space for wisdom teeth eruption and their position at about the age of 15-16 years. This way we can evaluate the available space and plan for the moment the teeth will be fully developed. For more information about your wisdom teeth, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Kaufman or to call today Tooronga Family Dentistry, phone number 98227006.