Unfortunately wisdom teeth are on my mind these days, as I’ve got one being a pain in the… jaw. I’m all for the wisdom part though.
These molars, usually four, at the very back of the mouth come in at the age of 17 to 25. The origin of the wisdom moniker may come from the Dutch, where they are called verstandskies, which would literally translate to wisdomtooth. However, verstand may have been intended to mean “standing far away”, as in, in the far back of the mouth.
Turkish people call them the 20th Year Tooth, while Spanish refers to them as the Molars of Judgement (as 18 is the age at which the law applies).
In Japan they are Oyashirazu, literally meaning “unknown to the parents”. Apparently, children have moved away from home by the time these teeth come in.
In Thailand they call it the huddling tooth, for it’s pesky reputation for crowding your other teeth. It’s for that reason that many people have had their wisdom teeth removed. Many dentists believe in preemptively extracting wisdom teeth whether or not problems occur while others prefer a wait-and-see approach as surgery can have side effects.
The most unique term comes from Korea, where they are called Sa-rang-nee, which means love teeth. It refers to the pain of a first love, commonly experienced around that age.
Turns out that your wisdom teeth may in fact lead to wisdom in the truest sense. In 2008 Japanese researchers found that stem cells can be extracted from extracted wisdom teeth. That’s pretty good news, as it’s a source for these scientifically important cells that’s not bogged down in controversy.
- Source: Wikipedia: Wisdom Tooth