When do wisdom teeth come in?

Randall D. Stastny, DMD
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery
Wisdom teeth or third molars generally "come in" the mouth around 18 years of age. This was considered the "age of wisdom" thus the name for the teeth.  However, it is important to know that not everyone has room in their mouth for the wisdom teeth. These are considered impacted and can lead to various problems if left untreated. The Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation of the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons has a multi-center, multi-year; ongoing study that has shown untreated erupted or impacted wisdom teeth can lead to periodontal disease, decay, and other pathologies.
Wisdom teeth are so called because they are the last teeth to come in, at about the time of young adulthood -- the age when a person gains maturity and thus wisdom. The majority of us have most of our permanent (adult) teeth by age 13, followed by our wisdom teeth (third molars), which usually push their way through the gums or become impacted between ages 17-21. After age 21, wisdom tooth removal becomes more complicated.

Not everyone's teeth develop on the same schedule. See your dentist regularly so he or she can monitor the progress of your wisdom teeth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.