Risks of Wisdom Tooth RemovalWisdom tooth extraction is a surgical process aimed at removing one or more wisdom teeth. This procedure becomes necessary if a wisdom tooth is impacted or causes pain, infection, or other dental problems. A dry socket is a prevalent complication that can occur after wisdom tooth removal.

What Are Possible Complications of Wisdom Tooth Removal?

While wisdom tooth removal can be beneficial in preventing future dental issues, there are risks and complications that can occur during the aftermath of the procedure. These risks and complications are important to be aware of as they can affect your recovery from wisdom teeth removal.

Dry Socket

A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is one of the most common side effects that can occur after wisdom tooth removal. It happens when the blood clot in the tooth socket fails to form, dislodges, or disappears, typically within three to five days following the surgery. It is important to be aware of this complication and take necessary precautions to prevent it.

Nerve Damage

Wisdom tooth removal may lead to damage to parts of the trigeminal nerve, resulting in pain, numbness, and tingling in the teeth, gums, tongue, chin, and lower lip. Additionally, the early stages of a dry socket may cause radiating pain from the extraction socket to the ear, eye, temple, or neck on the same side of the face.

Pain and Swelling

Recovering from wisdom tooth removal surgery typically takes up to two weeks. Swollen lips and cheeks are common, but can be reduced with a cold compress applied gently to the face, which should improve over the next few days.


Persistent discomfort or swelling within the first 2-3 days after wisdom tooth removal may indicate a wisdom tooth infection. Symptoms may include yellow discharge from the infected socket with a bad taste, feeling sick, or developing a fever.

Excessive Bleeding

Bleeding after wisdom tooth removal usually stops within 2-3 hours, but blood-tinged saliva may be present for up to 24-48 hours. It may indicate a dislodged clot, dry socket, or difficulty clotting if bleeding persists after 48 hours.

Trismus or Limited Mouth Opening

Jaw stiffness and pain after oral surgery are common and may cause difficulty in mouth opening (trismus). This occurs due to the surgery involving the jaw muscles near the surgical site and can last for a few days to a week, and sometimes longer.

Negative Reaction to Anesthesia

Allergic reactions during or after oral surgery are rare, but they can lead to anaphylaxis, causing breathing difficulties or death without prompt medical attention. Minor reactions, such as itching, are more common. If you’re allergic to medications or anesthetics, inform your dentist before surgery.

Maxillary Sinus Opening

Upper wisdom teeth often have roots that extend into the maxillary sinus cavity. After extraction, a hole may appear where the roots entered the sinus, increasing the risk of sinus infection due to the potential entry of food particles and oral bacteria.

Fractured Jaw

The triangular area is where a rare but serious complication can occur after a third molar extraction, specifically a fracture of the lower jaw. If left untreated, this can result in pseudoarthrosis.

Despite being a safe surgical procedure, wisdom tooth removal still carries certain risks, as with any surgery. The above-mentioned complications are potential risks that a patient may experience after undergoing wisdom teeth removal surgery.

Learn more about Wisdom Tooth Removal healing time.

How to Minimize the Risks that Come with Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

To reduce the risks associated with wisdom tooth extraction, it is essential to follow your dentist’s or oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions. These typically include avoiding smoking for 24 hours, using ice to reduce swelling, rinsing with warm salt water, and maintaining gentle dental hygiene practices.

Is Wisdom Teeth Extraction a Dangerous Procedure?

No, there are some risks associated with wisdom tooth removal, but they are usually minimal. One potential risk is a dry socket, which can happen when a blood clot fails to form or becomes dislodged in the tooth socket.

When to Seek Professional Help

Immediately go to your dentist if you’re experiencing the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fever
  • Severe pain not relieved by prescribed pain medications
  • Swelling that worsens after two or three days
  • A bad taste in your mouth is not removed with salt water rinsing
  • Pus in or oozing from the socket

How Do You Know if You Have an Infection After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

The common signs of infection following wisdom tooth removal include swelling, pain, bleeding, and discharge of yellow or white color from the extraction site.

Can You Get Sick From Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Yes. After wisdom tooth removal, feeling sick and having a fever for a day or two is common. Sometimes, you may feel nauseous or vomit, which could be caused by anesthesia, surgery, or sedatives. However, these symptoms will improve over time.

How to Avoid Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

To prevent a dry socket after wisdom tooth extraction, avoid using straws or smoking and practice proper oral hygiene. Suction can pull out the blood clot and lead to a dry socket. Eat soft foods and get enough rest.

Can Wisdom Teeth Removal Cause Flu Like Symptoms?

Yes, Flu-like symptoms are possible after wisdom tooth extractions, and it’s more common than dental cleanings. Factors like underlying medical conditions or a compromised immune system may increase the risk of your body reacting to the extraction process. Other potential side effects during extraction include nausea, a swollen jaw, and a sore lip.

Can Wisdom Tooth Removal Cause Permanent Nerve Damage?

Yes. Although rare, nerve damage during wisdom tooth extraction can be permanent if the nerve is severely damaged. However, in most cases, the damage is temporary and will heal within a few weeks or months.

Can a Dentist Tell if You Have Nerve Damage After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Yes. Post-wisdom teeth extraction pain that persists beyond a day or two can be a symptom of nerve damage. Other signs may include ongoing tingling or numbness in the tongue, lip, chin, gums, or teeth that persists after the local anesthetic wears off.

What more to learn about wisdom teeth removal besides risks of removal?

When considering wisdom teeth oral surgery, it’s important to learn about the procedure itself, such as how long it takes and what anesthesia options are available. It’s also important to know what to expect during the recovery period, including tips for managing pain and swelling. Additionally, you may want to ask your dentist or oral surgeon about any potential complications or long-term effects and wisdom teeth cost for the surgery.

Are you a candidate for wisdom tooth removal? Don’t waste any time and call Dr. Ronald Ayzin at Laguna Dental Center to schedule an appointment.