Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are vestigial organs, or body parts that have become obsolete through evolution. They are leftover organs from when our ancestors needed larger and more powerful jaws to chew and tear through chunks of raw meat. As humans evolved, the modern man’s diet turned to softer cooked food and utensils were developed to cut food into manageable sizes. As a result, our jaws have become smaller and we no longer need so many molar teeth.
Wisdom teeth typically start forming on the tenth birthday but do not erupt until between 16 to 25 years of age. Because of our smaller jaws, they are often impacted or blocked by other teeth, resulting in complications. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that about 85 percent of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed.