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Why are they called “wisdom teeth”?

They are called wisdom teeth as they erupt or appear at the time that people supposedly acquire WISDOM being in late teenage years or early 20’s when we are wiser than when other teeth erupt in childhood.

Impacted wisdom teeth fall into one of several categories:

  • Mesioangular impaction is the most common form (44%), and means the tooth is angled forward, towards the front of the mouth.
  • Vertical impaction (38%) occurs when the formed tooth does not erupt fully through the gum line.
  • Distoangular impaction (6%) means the tooth is angled backward, towards the rear of the mouth.
  • Horizontal impaction (3%) is the least common form, which occurs when the tooth is angled a full ninety degrees sideways, growing into the roots of the second molar.

Why might a wisdom tooth be impacted?

The reason why some wisdom teeth are impacted is not an easy question to answer.
A primary cause of wisdom tooth impaction is simply that there is inadequate jawbone space behind the person’s second molar. Why this lack of space exists is not fully understood, however there does seem to be a correlation between large tooth size, the presence of generalized tooth crowding, and having impacted wisdom teeth.

Modern man’s diet may play a role in third molar impaction.

It has been theorized that the coarse nature of Stone Age man’s diet had the effect of producing extensive tooth wear (not only on the chewing surface of the teeth but also on the sides of the teeth where neighboring teeth rest against each other). The net effect of this wear would be a reduction in the collective "length" of the teeth as a set, thus allowing enough jawbone space to accommodate the wisdom teeth by the time they erupted. In comparison the diet of modern man does not usually cause a significant amount of this type of tooth wear.

It has also been argued that the coarse nature of Stone Age man’s diet, as compared to modern man’s relatively soft diet, probably required more activity of the "chewing muscles. This activity could have stimulated greater jawbone growth, thus providing more space for wisdom teeth.


The oldest known impacted wisdom tooth belonged to a European woman of the Magdalenian period (18,000 – 10,000 BC).[4]

Different terms in other languages

Some languages use a different term for wisdom teeth, for example:

  • Turkish refers directly to the age at which wisdom teeth appear and call them 20 yaş
  • In Korean, its name is Sa-rang-nee (사랑니, love teeth) referring to the young age dişi (20th year tooth). love. and the pain of the first
  • In Japanese, its name is Oyashirazu (親知らず), literally meaning "unknown to the parents," from the idea that they erupt after a child has moved away.
  • The Indonesian term gigi bungsu for the last teeth a person cuts refers to bungsu, meaning "youngest child", because the teeth erupt so much later than the others, implying that the teeth are "younger" than the rest.
  • In Thailand, the wisdom tooth is described as fan-khut (its shortage of space.)
  • In the Netherlands, the wisdom tooth is known as the verstandskies or "far standing tooth" referring to its remote location in the mouth. A second meaning for verstand is also "wisdom".
  • In Portuguese, its name is siso, which is an archaic Portuguese word meaning "wisdom". (In Brazil, people generally recognize sisudo as "wise" or, more commonly, "circumspect"; the same does not happen to siso, which is only identified with the teeth.)
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