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Christian A. Loetscher, DDS, MS
Diplomate, American Board of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Alpharetta Office:
4205 North Point Pkwy, Suite F
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Coming Soon: Brookhaven Office:
705 Town Boulevard, Suite #360
Brookhaven, GA 30319

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

“Do you ever wonder why we have wisdom teeth? It’s kind of interesting question and why they’re called wisdom teeth. And so what wisdom teeth are, they’re your third molars. You have a first molar, second molar, and third molars, and they pretty much start erupting in your late teens and come in if you have room for them in your 20s.

So that actually, it’s an interesting story. They looked at skulls from men in 5,000, 10,000 years ago, like we’re cavemen, and basically, our jawbones are still the same size. But what’s different is our diet. Back then, we didn’t have agriculture, we didn’t have processed foods. So people ate rough raw food that has that dirt in it, and basically, everything was raw and off the ground, or however they did it. But they looked at their skulls and like kids from age seven or eight, they would use their baby teeth, and then through their mid-teens, they had their adult teeth. And these skulls they looked at, most 15, 16-year-olds, their front teeth were broken down, pretty much gone, and they would allow the back teeth to roll forward.

So also back then, if you lived to be 25 and escaped death from animals and other accidents, you’re considered some of the wise people in the tribe. So you’re one of the wise elders. And so people, when they’re 20, 21, these wisdom teeth would come in because there’s room and the teeth would have drifted forward. And at age 20, 21, 22, you had four fresh teeth. So these teeth had room to come in, and they would have fresh teeth to live for the last five, six years of their life. So that’s why they’re called wisdom teeth.

And now, our jaws are still the same size but we don’t lose our front teeth. And so they get stuck back there. So that’s why we have wisdom teeth, plus, I thought that was interesting.”

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