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Not just a year ago my wisdom was tucked tightly away in my mouth, just below the surface of my gums, bothering no one.And then, last fall, it decided to emerge in the shape of three large, impacted teeth that had to come out.The best time to get those suckers out is when the roots are about two-thirds formed, which is generally between the ages of 15 to 18.

But no one can predict when third molar complications will occur, and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that about 85 percent of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed.

If you do have wisdom teeth that you are thinking of having taken out, the association strongly recommends that patients remove wisdom teeth when they are young adults, in order to “prevent future problems and to ensure optimal healing.” People who have oral surgery after the age of 35 have higher risks for complications, harder surgeries, and longer healing times than those who get them removed in their late teens or early 20’s.

Scientific literature has yet to be able to explain why the number of teeth per individual varies, but for those who do get these extraneous, or supernumerary, teeth, it can lead to all sorts of problems.

Because human jaws have become smaller throughout evolutionary history, when wisdom teeth form they often become impacted, or blocked, by the other teeth around them.

These discrepancies mimic ancient survival tactics, explains Dr Mirjam Brady-Van den Bos, Psychology lecturer at the University of Aberdeen.

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