You may have heard that having your wisdom teeth out can change the shape of your face or jawline. It’s a bit of an old wives’ tale, really. When we take your wisdom teeth out, they’re already mostly under the gum line anyway. And no soft tissues like muscles or fat are removed with the tooth. The most that ever occurs is the oral surgeon will remove a small amount of your jaw bone if your wisdom teeth are partial or full-bony impacted. But when that’s necessary, we usually do a dental bone graft, so that bone is regenerated within a few weeks. Point is, wisdom tooth extraction doesn’t change the structure of your jaw or soft tissue, which means it doesn’t affect the shape of your mouth.
In over 20 years of removing wisdom teeth, we have never seen a patient’s face shape permanently change as a result of wisdom tooth removal. Reports of faces slimming or becoming more “V-shaped” after the procedure have not been measured objectively or verified in any research.
As dentists who commonly perform wisdom teeth extractions, we’ve generally seen people’s faces and mouths change for the better. Their teeth aren’t as crowded, so the smile has more room to breathe. Getting your wisdom teeth removed also reduces your risks for a lot of potential infection, tooth decay and gum disease complications. You’ll feel better and your smile will be healthier.
Temporary Changes after a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Changes may appear while you are recovering from wisdom tooth extraction and in the weeks after. If your wisdom teeth were causing you issues before, your face may have already been a bit puffed up. And after a wisdom tooth removal, you’re also a bit swollen. But once swelling goes down and you resume your regular diet, your face will go back to normal.
Your wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth, where bone is dense. The removal of wisdom teeth roots does not impact this bone area enough to cause a ‘hole’ in the bone. The portion of your jaw that wisdom teeth grow in is known as the dental alveolus. This is separate from the basal jawbone, which determines the shape of your jaw. Therefore, taking out wisdom teeth does not impact your jawbone or jaw shape. Therefore, wisdom teeth extraction does not impact your jawbone or jaw shape.
The soft tissue and skin around your wisdom teeth consist of muscles, underlying fat, and fat pads of the face. These soft tissues are not changed by the removal of wisdom teeth.
Okay, but you’re the one who looks in the mirror every day, and you swear your face looks different now. What could it actually be?
What May Be Happening When A Face Seems Slimmer After Oral Surgery:
- The face looks thinner after the swelling goes down.
- They eat less during recovery, and weight loss usually shows up first in the face.
- Natural aging of the face can be confused with the extraction of wisdom teeth. Soft tissues shrink around the jaw and chin as we age.
Dr. Puckett has removed hundreds of wisdom teeth, and can answer any questions you may have when considering the procedure. As a wisdom teeth removal dentist, he can attest that the procedure is safe and highly beneficial to your overall dental health.
Because of the evolution of the human diet, we don’t need our wisdom teeth any more, and they often cause problems. If your wisdom teeth removal doctor sees that your wisdom teeth are impacted or coming in crooked, getting them out when you are young (when the procedure is less complex) is a wise course of action.
And yes, wisdom teeth removal is likely covered by insurance. We’d be happy to look in your insurance plan to see how affordable it can make wisdom teeth extraction.