Wisdom teeth! Two little words that are enough to strike fear into many an otherwise-brave individual. But what's so smart about wisdom teeth, anyway? -- Sadly, wisdom teeth aren't really known for their intelligence. :) Wisdom teeth are actually named after the fact that they are your last teeth to erupt, generally between age 17 and 22, when we are considered full adults, and therefore, wiser than we would have been when the rest of our teeth came in earlier in life. -- Wisdom teeth are sometimes called "third molars." -- 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted each year from five million people! -- Most people have four wisdom teeth, but it's not uncommon for individuals to have more or fewer. -- About 35% of people never develop wisdom teeth at all. -- Impacted wisdom teeth are those that don't break through the gums. This problem is considered to be quite common. -- Wisdom teeth are known to be troublesome in that they often come in completely out of position -- sometimes even sideways! Poor alignment can cause nerve damage and tooth decay, depending on placement. -- Wisdom teeth were more useful to earlier humans, who had larger jaws and a much different diet of harder-to-chew foods than humans do now. Our smaller jaws often do not have room to contain them without causing problems, which is why they are often removed. -- Over the last decade, general consensus about whether or not wisdom teeth should be removed has changed. It used to be considered standard practice to take them out as early as possible. However, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons now states that patients should be given a range of options, from removal, to close monitoring of retained wisdom teeth to make sure they aren't causing other oral health problems. -- If wisdom teeth aren't removed, they should still be checked regularly via x-ray. Even those who've retained their wisdom teeth without pain may end up with undetected problems if they aren't monitored, including chronic, long-term infections which can weaken the surrounding bone and tissue. -- Both oral surgeons and general dentists can monitor retained wisdom teeth for problems. If you are experiencing issues with retained wisdom teeth and are looking for a dentist in Ann Arbor, Michigan, please give us a call today at 734-677-2156 and schedule an appointment to be seen by Dr. Kotre or Dr. Coleman as soon as possible.