Wisdom teeth do not grow back after they’ve been removed.

It is possible, however, for someone to have more than the typical four wisdom teeth. These extra teeth, which can erupt after your original wisdom teeth have been extracted, are called supernumerary teeth.

According to a 2015 study of more than 7,300 people, you have about a 2 percent chance of having supernumerary teeth. They can appear anywhere in the mouth and aren’t typically a surprise, because they usually show up on standard dental X-rays.

Keep reading to learn more about wisdom teeth, their purpose, and why they’re typically removed.

Most people have four wisdom teeth, one at the end of each row of teeth (upper and lower, right and left) in the very back of the mouth. They’re the third and last molars to erupt through the gums.

Wisdom teeth commonly start to erupt when people are in their late teens and early 20s, but sometimes they stay in place. Sometimes they only partially emerge or come in crooked, too.

Either way, wisdom teeth can result in painful crowding with other teeth.

If wisdom teeth cause problems and often need to be removed, why do we have them?

According to researchers, it’s thought that wisdom teeth date back to our distant ancestors, who had more teeth and larger jaws to accommodate them.

As we’ve evolved, our jaws have gotten smaller, and they don’t have room for these extra teeth now.

Your dentist will most likely discuss extracting your wisdom teeth if you have:

Your dentist may also suggest removal as part of an orthodontic procedure, like aligning your teeth, often with braces.

Dentists may also recommend removing impacted wisdom teeth that aren’t causing symptoms to prevent future problems. Impacted means the wisdom teeth are growing at an odd angle beneath the gum surface.

Your dentist will monitor your wisdom teeth, keeping an eye out for:

  • Wisdom teeth in the wrong position. If a wisdom tooth isn’t in the right position, it can trap food and create an environment for cavity-causing bacteria to grow.
  • Wisdom teeth that aren’t coming in properly. Crooked teeth can prevent flossing and effective cleaning between the second molar and the wisdom tooth.
  • Wisdom teeth that have only partially erupted. Partial eruptions can allow bacteria to enter the gums and create places for infection to occur. Your gums may get infected and become swollen.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t have enough room. Teeth that don’t have enough room might crowd or damage neighboring teeth when they come through.

Sometimes an impacted wisdom tooth can result in a cyst that can affect roots of nearby teeth and your jawbone.

You might have no symptoms from impacted wisdom teeth. That said, if an impacted wisdom tooth becomes infected or causes other dental problems, such as damaging other teeth, you may experience:

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a dentist. These symptoms are often accompanied by bad breath or a lingering unpleasant taste in your mouth.

If your wisdom teeth have been surgically removed, they won’t grow back.

You might, however, be one of the few people who have more than the typical four wisdom teeth. These extra teeth may be referred to as supernumerary teeth.

Extra teeth can appear anywhere in your mouth and aren’t necessarily wisdom teeth. Dentists usually spot them in standard dental X-rays.