Where did wisdom teeth get their name?

Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, get their name by being the last teeth to come in during young adulthood. As part of a dental visit, your dentist will examine you to determine if your wisdom teeth are healthy and properly positioned.

Regular dental visits are important so your dentist can evaluate not just your wisdom teeth but your overall oral health to help you prevent and manage dental disease and achieve optimal oral health.
Wisdom teeth -- the third and last set of molars -- get their name from the age during which they erupt: 17 to 25. This is the age at which men and women become adults, and, presumably, wiser. The term dates back to 1848 by one account; by others, to 1668.
Wisdom teeth were named for the time they make their appearance in the mouth, which typically is between the ages of 17 and 25 -- around the same time a young person may be seeking wisdom through higher education.

Dentists refer to wisdom teeth by a more formal name: third molars.

Continue Learning about 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.