What are some risks and complications from a wisdom tooth extraction?

If you have wisdom teeth, your dentist might recommend having them extracted. This is often done if your mouth is overcrowded, the wisdom teeth are impacted or infected, or if you find it difficult to keep them clean. While extracting the teeth is a routine procedure, you should still be aware of the potential risks and complications so you know what to look for during the recovery period. 


One of the more serious risks you need to watch out for when you have a tooth extracted is getting an infection. This is why it is so important to keep your mouth clean and follow all of the oral surgeon's instructions. They will likely prescribe you an antibiotic, which must be taken as directed to avoid an infection. If you aren't cleaning your mouth enough, all that bacteria can also cause the extraction area to become infected. Keep a close eye on the area and let the oral surgeon if you have any signs of infection, such as pain that is worsening or not getting better, a swollen face or lymph nodes, or the feeling that your cheeks are hot.

Dry Socket

Another potential complication of wisdom tooth extraction is experiencing dry socket. This is one of the most painful things you can experience after having a tooth removed. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot that forms after the extraction is dislodged before healing can begin, which leaves the tooth socket open to air, food debris, and bacteria. The jaw bone is exposed, which becomes instantly painful. As soon as you experience severe pain or notice that the blood clot is no longer present, you need to get emergency treatment. Cover it with gauze if you can and get to the oral surgeon, dentist, or the nearest hospital for treatment.

Damage to Teeth or Nerves

There is also a small risk of having temporary or permanent damage to nearby teeth or nerves during an extraction. Sometimes, wisdom teeth grow in at an angle where they are very close to a nerve. During the extraction, the oral surgeon might accidentally hit a nerve. If you feel some numbness following the extraction, you likely have some nerve damage that needs to be addressed. It is also possible that their tools hit one of the nearby teeth, though this is not that common.

Persistent Pain and Bleeding

It is normal to have some bleeding and discomfort following a wisdom tooth extraction, but if it doesn't get better after several days or seems to worsen, you should contact the oral surgeon. It is possible that you have gotten an infection which is causing the pain, or there is another issue that needs to be dealt with.