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Do Wisdom Teeth Have to be Removed? (5 Harmful Side Effects)


Dr. Andreas

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Written by

Q.F. Nayibe Cubillos Morales


Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Gustavo Assatourians D.D.S

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The third molar is of particular interest because it is the last and most variable tooth in the dentition, but do wisdom teeth have to be removed? The third molar is the last tooth to appear, and its maturation sequence and age of eruption or birth are variable in the population. Third molar development has been used to estimate chronological age. 

At present, the age at which calcification begins is not established; but some studies show the development of the complete crown oscillates in the age range between 8 to 12 years; then the complete calcification of the roots occurs between 17 to 25 years of age. There is an advance of 1-2 years in the calcification of the upper third molars concerning the lower ones.


What are the Indications for Extracting Wisdom Teeth?

 Acute/chronic infections associated with third molars

 Exposure of the pulp due to caries

 Teeth affected by severe caries destruction

 Uncontrollable pain

 Alterations in the root of the tooth

 Dental pathologies related to the dental eruption

 Resorption of adjacent teeth

 Relationship to treatment or the arrest of the progression of periodontal disease

 The teeth hinder orthodontic and reconstructive surgery

 Existence of an evident alteration of the occlusion due to the third molar


When to See a Dentist to Extract Wisdom Teeth? 

An appointment should be made to see your dentist if your wisdom teeth are causing you severe pain or an infection is developing. Your dentist will check your teeth and advise you if they need to be removed.

do wisdom teeth have to be removed

They will take an x-ray of the mouth if needed to get a clearer view of the position of the wisdom teeth. As with any problem in the oral cavity, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible for complementary tests and to provide a timely solution.

The pain associated with wisdom teeth can vary widely among individuals. For some, the emergence of these molars can lead to localized discomfort and aching in the back of the mouth. To alleviate this pain, you can explore home remedies aimed at reducing discomfort – from using warm salt water rinses to applying cold compresses, there are various approaches you can try to find relief.


What Exams do I need to Take to Remove my Wisdom Teeth?

wisdom teeth radiograph

The radiographic examination of the third molar is important for a proper plan treatment. This examination helps in making decisions about the conservation or extraction of the third molar and determining the most appropriate time if a procedure is to be done. As the third molar grows and its roots lengthen, the tooth becomes more difficult to extract and the likelihood of complications increases.


Do Wisdom Teeth have to be removed and what are the Side Effects?

Wisdom teeth are usually extracted under local anesthesia. General anesthesia may be used for more complex procedures. Mouthwashes or antiseptic gels can help prevent complications. Usually, there is no need to take antibiotics. But these possible side effects must be taken into account:

1. Swelling

Most people may experience swelling in the mouth or cheeks after the extraction.

2. Limitation in the opening

Due to the local anesthesia injected before performing this procedure, there can be temporary discomfort in the muscles that open and close the mouth. This can last for a few hours or even a few days, but the effect is short-lived.

3. Pain

Many experience pain immediately after the procedure, but it does not last. If pain returns after four or five days, worsens, and is accompanied by swelling or bad breath, the wound could be infected. The healing process has been affected and the wound detached too soon and was left unprotected.

4. Paresthesia

Post-surgical paresthesia occurs due to trauma to nervous tissue. It is an unwanted event in any surgical procedure and a condition that can lead to a considerable degree of discomfort for the patient. Sometimes patients report a lack of sensitivity in a certain region, as well as symptoms of tingling, numbness, altered sensitivity, and thermal changes, which can affect the tongue, lips, and cheeks, and change in taste perception, among other manifestations.

5. Infections

In very rare cases, serious infections occur. Up to 1 in 100 people may have permanent problems as a result of the procedure, such as numbness or damage to nearby teeth. The risk of this happening will depend upon how extensive the procedure was.

After the removal of wisdom teeth, individuals commonly experience a period of recovery that involves some discomfort and adjustment. One of the priorities during this time is determining what to eat after the procedure. To learn more about what to eat after wisdom tooth extraction, you can check out this article.


Do Wisdom Teeth have to be Removed during Pregnancy?

The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy are responsible for changing the mother’s body, and the oral cavity is no exception. Therefore, it is essential to understand these changes, their implication for oral health, and the effects of potential diagnostic and therapeutic interventions during pregnancy and lactation.

It is important to instruct the mother about the importance of self-care related to oral hygiene and only perform emergency procedures. Dental procedures during pregnancy have a greater risk of teratogenesis during the formation of the fetus and the first trimester. It is known that one in five pregnancies end in a miscarriage, and dental procedures can be the probable cause


Recommendations for Pregnant Women

pregnant woman brushing

Educate women about the oral maternal changes that occur during pregnancy.

Instruct the need for strict oral hygiene and good control of bacterial plaque

Limit dental treatment to periodontal prophylaxis

Emergency treatments only

Avoid routine radiographs; they should be used selectively and only when necessary. Always use a protective cover from the thyroid gland to the top of the knee.



1. Jung, YH, & Cho, BH (2014). Radiographic evaluation of third molar development in 6- to 24-year-olds. Imaging science in dentistry, 44(3), 185–191.

2. Araújo, AMM de, Pontual, ML dos A., França, KP de, Beltrão, RV, & Pontual, A. dos A. (2010). Association between mineralization of third molars and chronological age in a Brazilian sample. Odonto Ciência Magazine (Online), 25(4), 391–394. doi:10.1590/s1980-65232010000400013

3. Peer W. Kammerer, Bilal Al-Nawas. Surgical extraction of third molars. Rev. Quintessence. 2010;61(11):1329-36 DOI: 10.1016/j.quint.2012.02.003

4. Alfaro Alfaro, Ascension, Castejón Navas, Isabel, Magán Sánchez, Rafael, & Alfaro Alfaro, María Jesús. (2018). Pregnancy and oral health. Clinical Journal of Family Medicine, 11(3), 144-153. Epub October 1, 2019. Retrieved on December 6, 2022, from

5. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Should you have your wisdom teeth removed? [Updated 2020 May 7]. Available in

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