Are there complications related to removing wisdom teeth?

removing wisdom teeth

As with any surgery, removing wisdom teeth may entail certain risks and complications, but they are not very serious ones (see examples below). Take the time to discuss them with Dr. Riendeau or Dr. Bonin before your surgery.

  • Infection. Although rare, there is a risk of infection. Infections occur more frequently in older individuals and smokers. Be on the look-out for the following signs and symptoms: fever, abnormal swelling, pain, a persistent bad taste in your mouth and formation of pus. You must inform Dr. Riendeau or Dr. Bonin immediately if you think you have an infection.
  • Damage to the adjacent teeth. Fillings, crowns and bridges of the adjacent teeth could be damaged during the extraction of wisdom teeth.
  • Dry socket. Following surgery, a blood clot will form in the cavity left by removal of the tooth. If its formation is altered or interrupted (more often in smokers) the bony cavity will be exposed. This can be very painful and food will most likely collect in the cavity.
  • Numbness. During surgery, the nerve supplying sensation to your teeth and lower lip can in very rare occasions be irritated and lead to partial loss of sensation in the lower lip (feeling of pins and needles). The sensation will usually return but in very rare occasions disturbances of sensation can be prolonged and permanent.
  • Sinus complications. The upper wisdom teeth are in close proximity to the maxillary sinus. Removing wisdom teeth can in rare occasions expose the maxillary sinus and this can lead to a sinusitis. This complication is usually temporary.
  • Root fragments. The roots of wisdom teeth, which are sometimes long and fragile, may break during surgery. Although this is a rare complication, if the fragment is near the nerve (inferior dental nerve) or if its removal risks damaging adjacent teeth, Dr. Riendeau or Dr. Bonin may decide to leave the root fragment in place, which generally will not cause any problem in the long term.
  • Jaw fracture. If the lower jaw is very thin and fragile and if the teeth are deeply impacted, removal of wisdom teeth can, on very rare occasions, weaken or fracture the lower jaw. If such complication should happen, an additional surgery will be required to stabilize the fractured jaw. Until healing is complete, chewing any hard food that can stress the jaw is to be avoided.
  • Temporo-mandibular joint pain. In rare occasions following surgery, the jaw joint can be stressed and lead to localized pain and difficulty opening your jaw for a short period of time after surgery.