What are the possible wisdom teeth removal complications?

Wisdom teeth removal is a sometimes-necessary procedure that can involve simple or complex extraction. Patients often experience symptoms after the operation, and complications can sometimes occur as well.

In this article, our surgeons specializing in maxillofacial surgery, give you an overview of possible complications after wisdom teeth extraction, as well as all the important points to bear in mind during recovery.

Potential complications of wisdom teeth removal

Complications can sometimes develop after wisdom teeth removal, some more serious than others. Although complications are not common, it’s important to be aware of them so that you can detect the symptoms and act quickly if they appear.

Note that the risks associated with not removing wisdom teeth are much higher than the risk of post-extraction complications, particularly when it comes to partially impacted teeth.

Dry socket, a common complication of wisdom teeth removal

Dry socket, or alveolar osteitis, is a complication that can occur after a permanent adult tooth is extracted. It presents as intense pain that radiates from the jaw to the ear.

Dry socket pain stems from the surgical site and occurs after the initial pain caused by the operation has subsided. It can last from a few days to several weeks, and may require clinical intervention.

Post-operative infection

Infection can occur days or weeks after wisdom teeth removal, even if the patient takes antibiotics.

In such cases, it’s important to make an appointment with your maxillofacial surgeon so that they can assess the situation and prevent the infection from spreading.

Loss of feeling, a complication to watch out for

Wisdom teeth removal can irritate the nerves surrounding the extracted teeth.

This can cause numbness in parts of the mouth that lasts a few days to several weeks. The loss of feeling, called paresthesia, can be partial or total. Numbness should be monitored closely, so notify your surgeon without delay if it occurs.

Post-operative symptoms

Most people experience the following symptoms after wisdom teeth extraction. While they should be monitored, they are very common and aren’t usually cause for concern, so they aren’t considered complications.


A certain amount of swelling in the cheeks, chin, neck and lips is likely to occur after wisdom teeth removal.

It’s completely normal to experience some swelling, which usually appears 24 hours after the operation. The inflammation is commensurate with the amount of trauma sustained. It usually peaks 48 to 72 hours after the wisdom teeth are removed and disappears around a week after the procedure.

To reduce the swelling, apply ice to the area for 20 minutes and repeat as needed, pausing for some time between intervals to avoid frostbite.

Difficulty opening your mouth

You may experience difficulty opening your mouth after your wisdom teeth are extracted. This is usually related to the amount of swelling caused by the operation. It can also be the result of temporomandibular joint stress brought on by the procedure.

Everything should go back to normal within a few days of the extraction. If you continue to experience discomfort and pain past that time, contact your maxillofacial surgeon.

Nausea, vomiting and nutrition

Patients sometimes experience nausea and vomiting after wisdom teeth removal. These symptoms usually present themselves 24 to 72 hours after the operation and disappear within 24 hours.

Nausea and vomiting may be caused by the anaesthetic used, the medications prescribed, or blood swallowed during the operation. An empty stomach can also be the culprit, so it’s important to eat properly before and after the procedure. Read our article about what to eat after wisdom teeth removal to find out which foods to prioritize and which to avoid.

If you think that your medication may be causing the nausea and vomiting, contact your maxillofacial surgeon without delay.

Pain and soreness

It’s completely normal to experience pain and soreness after wisdom teeth removal. A certain amount of discomfort is inevitable as the anesthesia wears off.

Your maxillofacial surgeon will provide you with a list of postoperative instructions after your wisdom teeth extraction. It’s very important to follow these recommendations, particularly when it comes to the medication you are prescribed.

Bleeding after wisdom teeth extraction

Regardless of the surgical technique used, bleeding commonly occurs after wisdom teeth removal.

After a tooth extraction, the socket fills with blood, forming a clot. The amount of time the blood clot lasts varies from person to person. It’s normal for slight bleeding to persist 2 to 3 days after the wisdom teeth are removed.

Try placing gauze on the sockets and applying light pressure with your jaw to help control the bleeding.

Wisdom teeth removal at Clinique MFML

If you have a wisdom teeth extraction scheduled, you may have questions or concerns about the procedure. Our entire maxillofacial clinic is available to answer your questions and provide you with preoperative instructions.

Contact our team today so that we can address your concerns and give you peace of mind as you prepare for your procedure.

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