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You may have heard from your dentist that there is nothing smart about wisdom teeth, and mostly, that is true. 

Mr Gump once said:  “Stupid is as stupid does” and wisdom teeth can do some really stupid things that can ruin your day! 

But even though they can be a pain in your gum… they could also be a life saver. Want to know how? 

Here are a few wise things to know about them:

  1. They get their nickname because the generally start coming through in the late teens to mid twenties. A time often referred to as “the age of wisdom”.
  2. Oddly, more than a third of people will be missing one or more.  In fact, they are the most common congenitally missing tooth.
  3. 85% of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillo-facial Surgeons (AAOMS). 
  4. Most wisdom teeth in the lower jaw will become impacted (stuck in the gum), which can lead to infections, decay, gum disease, and all sorts of other problems.  You may not even realise this is happening until the end stage of the infection.
  5. Impacted wisdom teeth are becoming more and more commonplace.  There are many theories around why this is the case. But most believe that it is because we have a much softer diet today, compared to our stone-age ancestors.
  6. Fact or fiction – they make your front teeth crooked? While most people will swear blind that this is absolutely true, there is actually no evidence to support this opinion.  The most obvious reason to doubt this opinion is that many people never develop wisdom teeth, yet their front teeth still go crooked in their late teens and twenties.  Go figure!
  7. The dentine of unerupted wisdom teeth has been used to treat a common form of blindness.  Because the dental tissues are produced by your own body, the complication of rejection is eliminated.
  8. They are a source of stem cells.  With the recent and exciting explosion in stem cell research, it is amazing that stem cells can be harvested from these teeth.  This means that, some time in the future, they could potentially end up saving lives!