When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In and What to Know

Wisdom Teeth: When They Erupt And What To Know

Wisdom teeth are the third group of molars that erupt at the back of the mouth behind each second molar. Their real name is third molars.

Your mouth will experience multiple changes throughout your life, and teeth eruption is the most obvious. Teeth eruption is a long process that begins at 6 months old and finishes with the eruption of the third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, usually after becoming an adult. However, there is more to it than that. As these are the last teeth to erupt, there are many special considerations regarding them and oral health that you should know. 

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth

Raw meat, nuts, and roots were the staple foods of our ancestors, they didn't cut and cook food with cutlery, and cooking their meat was out of the question. Therefor, a wider jaw and strong molars were necessary to chew these tough foods. Our ancestors needed three sets of molars (wisdom teeth), to eat the coarse, foods they needed to survive.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In

Wisdom teeth are the third group of molars that erupt at the back of the mouth behind each second molar. Their real name is third molars. They are teeth that present a large number of morphological variations meaning that their size and the shape of their crown and roots can vary widely. They usually erupt between the ages of 17 – 21, gaining the popular nickname of wisdom teeth as they emerge once the person has become a wise adult. Most people know that these teeth should usually be extracted.

Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are not present in everyone. According to a study, up to 35% of adults have missing wisdom teeth. There are two main reasons why some people lack wisdom teeth:

  • They are present but have not yet erupted.
  • The absence of wisdom teeth is related to genes.

How Many Wisdom Teeth Do You Have

Each adult has 32 teeth. There are eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and twelve molars among the 32 adult teeth. There are four wisdom teeth among the 12 molars. By their teen years, a person will have a full set of permanent teeth.

Extraction Considerations

Tooth extraction is usually the main option when dealing with third molars. However, not every dentist is capable of extracting them. Usually, it is better to leave the treatment to a dentist specializing in oral surgery.

The reason behind it is its location and proximity to vulnerable anatomical elements. In many cases, the lower third molar roots are exceptionally close to the dental nerve. When this happens, the surgery must be performed by an experienced oral surgeon that could handle the case with care to prevent any damage to the nerve.

Third molars are exceptional teeth with many morphological variations and particular considerations that erupt at 17 – 21 years. Unlike the other teeth, brushing them alone and having good oral care is often not enough to maintain them in the mouth. However, if they have enough room to erupt aligned and oral hygiene can be efficiently performed around them, then considering keeping them can be a good alternative.

Although there are many complications tied to their eruption, such as malocclusion and infections, the dentist is capable of solving any situation and pointing you in the right direction. Therefore, helping you maintain the good oral health you deserve.

What to Eat after Wisdom Teeth Removal

For 3 to 5 days you have to stick to liquids and soft, mushy foods such as: blended soups, broths, Greek yogurt, Mashed potatoes and others soft foods

What Else to Know

Room For Eruption

Third molars are usually extracted because there is not enough room for them to properly erupt. This forces them to push the other teeth into an abnormal position to gain enough space to erupt. Even if it is only partially. As a result, it ends in teeth crowding and malocclusion.

However, everyone is different, and their mouth and teeth can have different sizes. On some occasions, people may have enough room for the third molars to fully erupt. Therefore, allowing them to maintain them in the mouth as long as they erupt aligned with the dental arches.

Third Molars Agenesis

Due to genetic variations, some people may experience third molars agenesis. This means that they are born without third molars.

Although not that common, it is estimated that around 22.63%of the global population experience this condition. However, people with third molars agenesis are more like to miss only 1 or 2 out of their 4 molars.

Nonetheless, it is vital to take a panoramic x-ray of your mouth if you believe you have third molars agenesis. This is because there might be other structures or teeth impacting them and preventing their eruption without you noticing it.

Impacted Teeth

As third molars are the last teeth to form without anything to guide their proper eruption, they often end up erupting misaligned at odd angles. Therefore, leading to an impact or misalignment.

Impacted teeth are teeth that get stuck against something, usually other teeth or roots while trying to erupt.

Third molars often get impacted against the second molars. Thereby, they remain hidden inside the bone or only partially erupt through the gum. This condition carries many complications as it can cause infections, cysts, and even resorption of the second molar, leading to the extraction of both teeth.


Impacted third molars are more prone to developing cysts associated with them than other teeth.

The most frequent type of cyst that forms around impacted third molars is called dentigerous cyst. These cysts develop when fluids build up around erupting teeth.

Although these cysts are benign lesions and usually painless, there are a few complications if they are left untreated, such as infection and bone weakness. Moreover, in severe cases, it can even displace adjacent teeth.


Pericoronitis is an infection associated with partially erupted third molars. It causes inflammation of the gums around the teeth and, in some cases, pus discharges.

Partially erupted third molars often have a gum flap over them. This can be difficult to clean, and bacteria can colonize the area easily and cause tissue infection.

Pericoronitis includes symptoms such as:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Gums pain and inflammation around the third molar
  • Trismus

Although the infection can be controlled with medication, it can become a recurrent condition.


Dental caries is another major factor involved in extracting third molars' decisions. Due to their location, properly cleaning them is often complicated. Especially far zones like their backside.

However, once caries has developed, it is often complicated for the dentist to restore the tooth, as it is hard to control humidity in the area, increasing the risk of unsuccessful treatment.

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