Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

An owl wondering why humans have wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, the colloquial name for the last molars to erupt sometime between ages 17 and 25, are known as some of the most painful. Taken from the Oxford Dictionary: “Although formally known as third molars, the common name is wisdom teeth because they appear so late – much later than the other teeth, at an age where people are presumably “wiser” than as a child, when the other teeth erupt. The term probably came as a translation of the Latin “dens sapientiae.”

Note: To read more thoroughly about how we address problems with wisdom teeth, please read our wisdom teeth removal page here: Wisdom Teeth Removal in Overland Park, KS

Most of the time, wisdom teeth cause more problems than good because they don’t come in correctly. Here are three important reasons you should consider having your wisdom teeth removed. 


If your jaw isn’t large enough to handle the molars, they can fail to erupt properly. Due to an evolving diet, the human jaw has become smaller over the centuries. This is the most common reason that your molars might become impacted. This could mean that they don’t erupt fully, they come in at an angle, or they come up too close to your other molars. All of these can cause problems for your jaw, and your other molars. If left too long, an impacted molar can damage the others. 

Cause Your Teeth To Move Out of Position

Imagine having spent years dealing with braces and all the troubles and rules that come with them, only to have your teeth knocked out of alignment when your wisdom teeth come in while you’re in college. This moving and shifting of your teeth will not only look less than stellar, but it can also change your bite and cause serious jaw pain. 

Disease & Cavities

When your wisdom teeth come in, they don’t always come in properly, as we’ve already covered. This can lead to inflamed gums, or other health issues. The way they sit in your mouth can also lead to cavities from the difficulty of reaching them, or the general tenderness of attempting to brush them. There’s also a serious concern of gum disease with every year of keeping wisdom teeth in.

At Overland Park Family Dental, we can monitor the growth of your wisdom teeth and give you our advice on how to best proceed. Keeping your best interests at heart, our team makes sure that you are fully informed every step of the way, so you can make your own decisions. If you’d like to discuss more, please contact us today