Facial Changes After Wisdom Teeth Removal


The extraction of wisdom teeth is common for young adults, although it may not always be necessary. Should you decide to take out your wisdom teeth, you should expect changes to your jawline and facial structure.

Unnecessary dental extractions can lead to a longer face, given you sunken features, and give you a narrower palate. 

The extraction of wisdom teeth can certainly be a valid treatment, especially if it causes you pain. Some people need to undergo a wisdom tooth extraction, as the growth of the wisdom tooth affects how they live their lives. However, it won’t hurt to know the consequences of this.

Should you decide to remove your wisdom teeth, read this article first. We’ll show you some of the typical results of an extraction. Also, I’ll give you a rundown of whether you need the procedure and some of the things you can do to counteract any negative effects.

How Can Wisdom Teeth Extractions Affect the Face?

To understand how removing a tooth could alter your facial skeletal structure, it’s important to note that bones are not static. In babies, bones remodel and renew themselves every year. In adults, this process has drastically slowed down but still happens at a rate of 10% each year.

bone mewing
Microscopic Bone Marrow

Osteoclasts are specialized cells that break down existing bone tissue. Osteoblasts then come in and lay down new bone cells. This is constantly going on, and so even though you’re done growing after puberty, your face and rest of your skeletal structure still have the potential to change, though it might take months or years.

This process is evident in people who have had strokes, which can paralyze certain muscles:

Even though a stroke does not affect the bones, over time, the lack of pressure normally created by the facial muscles causes the face to deform. The normal stimulus of the muscles onto the bones is no longer there.

The same thing happens with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease:

ALS is not a disease of the bones, it only affects the muscles, yet it’s caused changes in the bones because bones are constantly remodeling. This is also the core concept behind mewing.

When your mouth is shut, and your teeth are lightly touching, pressure is applied to both the jaw and the maxilla. When you remove wisdom teeth, or really any tooth, you’re removing the normal stimulus to these bones. As a result, facial changes can occur.

Common Facial  Changes After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

The wisdom teeth are also known as the third molars, and it’s the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. Due to the new teeth’ limited space, sometimes the wisdom teeth become impacted (see photo below). Impacted wisdom teeth push other teeth forward, and this is the number one reason why there is a need for an extraction.

Although the removal of wisdom teeth can offer unbelievable pain relief, it’s not a great recommendation for the face’s aesthetics. Here are some of the changes you might experience if you have wisdom teeth extraction.

Longer Faces

In a study regarding facial skeleton and third molar impaction, the outcome showed that out of the 158 participants, those who had longer faces also had bad growth of the wisdom teeth (Tassoker et al. 2018). People with long faces are 1.5 times more likely to have wisdom tooth impaction than those with a square or broad look.

The teeth are an integral component of the face, and removing them will mean eliminating the roots and altering the facial structure. The alveolar bone is the part of the jaw where the teeth rest. It has the highest bone remodeling rate in the body. When you remove wisdom teeth, the alveolar bone remodels and adapts to the new change. The medical term for this is residual ridge resorption, wherein the bone and gum line experience a slow recession.

Wisdom teeth extraction creates more vertical development in the face since the support for the maxilla is gone. We all know that a face that is long and has no jaw definition is not easy on the eyes. The golden ratio of the face is 1.6 when the facial length is divided by the width. Check out this article to learn how you can find the golden ratio of your face.

Sunken Face

Wisdom tooth removal may also lead to a sunken face, which causes shortening of the jaws. When you notice that your jaws change shape, you will notice that your jaw becomes more recessed, with a more concave angle. Wisdom teeth extraction leads to losing that youthful contour most people aspire to have.

Having plump cheeks and full volume under the eyes is the critical indicator of youthful contour. Individuals who have teeth extractions will see the difference as they usually look older a few months after the procedure. Some people may also experience sagging skin on the face, which, of course, affects your overall appearance. Negative skin changes are common for people who have had wisdom teeth extractions after 40 years old.

Narrower Palate

The roots of your teeth extend to the maxilla and the upper jaw. When there is wisdom teeth extraction, the lips become thinner, and the maxilla smaller. This is because the teeth are a support system for the maxilla. Thus, removing them will also affect facial harmony.

Another possible scenario after wisdom teeth removal is the teeth surrounding the removed wisdom tooth may drift towards the open space. This drifting of the teeth may lead to poorly positioned teeth, affecting the maxilla and the whole facial structure.

Are You a Candidate for Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth removal is not necessary unless keeping it brings a certain level of pain and discomfort. Most orthodontists may only suggest removing your wisdom teeth if they might pose a possible threat in the future.

The main reason for having wisdom teeth extracted is when they are impacted. When the wisdom teeth don’t grow appropriately into their position, it might damage and push the other teeth forward. An impacted wisdom tooth carries a potential risk of bite problems and teeth misalignment.

The other reasons to have wisdom teeth removal are:

Cavities

When a person has cavities or swollen gums surround the teeth, this causes bacteria to fester. These swollen gums destroy the teeth by creating pockets around the teeth, and the bacteria slowly destroys the tooth.

When the wisdom teeth have cavities, the best thing to do is extraction. Extraction helps stop the spread of the bacteria and promotes healthy gums.

Damage to the Jaw

If the growth of your wisdom teeth creates jaw damage, your dentist will suggest extracting them. The wisdom teeth may make your jaws more hollow and infringe on the nerves. This is also the reason why cysts form around perfectly healthy teeth.

You will definitely regret not undergoing wisdom teeth removal if this is the issue. The long-term effects of having cysts on your teeth will negatively impact oral function and may cause you to have to remove many teeth in the future.

Sinus Concerns

When the wisdom tooth causes sinus issues such as frequent congestion, pain, and pressure, go for the removal. Normal breathing becomes more important than keeping your wisdom teeth.

You may have to breathe through your mouth most of the time, and eating food becomes difficult. You can ask your dentist if wisdom teeth extraction will give you permanent relief of these sinus issues; otherwise, prescription medicine may be enough.

How to Counteract the Effects of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Since wisdom teeth impact your facial structure, it would be prudent to take measures to counteract these effects to the best of your ability.

Dental Implants

Dental implants will make sure that pressure is still applied to your maxilla and mandible. The dental implants go right in the alveolar bone where a normal tooth would have gone. Even though part of the alveolar bone still gets resorbed because you don’t have your natural tooth, you still have the dental implant applying pressure to your mandible and maxilla.

However, the problem arises if you lack space in your jaw, which is why you might have the tooth extracted in the first place. In this case, the dentist will move your other teeth around to fill in the gap. Even though there’s not much room for your teeth, in this case, it also implies that your jaw won’t really change noticeably, if at all.

Mewing

Putting your tongue in its correct position while maintaining a lip seal and your teeth lightly touching is called mewing. Although this is the basic concept of mewing, it goes beyond that. The goal of mewing is to have better facial features that are universally attractive and function better at the same time.

After wisdom teeth extraction, it’s best to engage in mewing as this will help counter the effects, especially that of having a more extended, unattractive face. If you want to achieve your maximum genetic potential in having a well-defined jawline and overall facial appearance, you should commit to mewing 24/7.

You can check out our ultimate guide to mewing by going here.

Jawline Exercises

One way to counteract the effects of wisdom teeth removal on the jawline is by doing jawline exercises. These exercises build up the muscles of the jaw to give them a more defined look. This article gives you a rundown of the jawline exercises you can do, the most important of which is chewing gum.

Gonial Angle

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the process, losing a tooth will always lead to changes in your facial structure, whether it’s noticeable or not. Other factors, such as your diet, age, and oral posture, will either help or hurt. It’s always best to ask for advice from a dentist what changes to expect when you undergo wisdom teeth removal.

You may end up following the crowd since wisdom teeth extraction is the most common dental procedure among young adults. The idea that wisdom teeth need to be removed as soon as they erupt is a myth. Not all wisdom teeth require removal unless they cause terrible pain.

If your wisdom teeth don’t hurt and have erupted normally, by all means, leave them alone. After all, adequately grown wisdom teeth serve as a powerful support for your midface and leads to good facial symmetry.

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