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The Perils of Wisdom Teeth Removal After 30

Oral surgeons and dentists recommend having your wisdom teeth removed in your teens or twenties to avoid possible complications later in life. But is wisdom teeth removal when you are young necessary? If you want to prevent complications and recover quickly, the answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Wisdom Teeth Surgery Risks After 30

After 30, wisdom tooth extraction has significantly more complications and risks, including impaction, slower recovery, more time off work, and the surgery itself may be more difficult to perform. Some patients who have their wisdom teeth removed later in life also run the risk of jaw fracture, numbness, loss of the second molar, and additional health risks.


When a tooth is impacted, it is trapped in the jawbone and cannot erupt. Usually, this is because the tooth is lying at an angle or there is not enough space in the back of the jaw for the tooth to erupt fully. An impacted wisdom tooth can be extremely painful and may lead to infection in the jawbone if left untreated. An impacted wisdom tooth is more difficult to remove when you are in your thirties or older. The tooth’s roots are longer and more difficult to remove without potential damage to the jawbone or nerve bundles along the base of the jaw. The longer a wisdom tooth is left in the jaw, the greater the risk of impaction.

Second molars are often lost because the wisdom teeth, or third molars, push against them when they are impacted and trying to emerge from the gums. This crowds the teeth and makes it harder to clean around the second molars, often leading to advanced tooth decay that goes undetected until there is significant pain.

Although losing your wisdom teeth doesn’t affect your ability to eat comfortably, losing your second molars can make it more difficult to chew foods properly. Removing the wisdom teeth before they can damage your second molars can preserve your oral health and comfort.

Slow Recovery

As we age, our body takes longer to recover from even minor injuries. Teens and young adults bounce back more quickly from wisdom teeth removal than older patients. If you are over 40, recovery may take up to a week longer. You also tend to have more significant swelling and bruising after surgery and may experience more pain.

A slower recovery can significantly impact your lifestyle and work when you are older. You may need to take a week or more off work, and caring for your family may be more difficult when you battle pain.

Difficult Surgery

Any surgery carries risk, but as you age, the chance of complications from wisdom tooth extraction is greater. The roots continue to grow as you age, making surgery more difficult. The roots may grow curved or become tangled in the nerve bundles at the base of the jawbone. Some older patients risk serious complications such as long-term numbness or jaw fracture.

Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed When Older?

Most patients over 35 who see us about their wisdom teeth are experiencing symptoms such as pain, and wisdom tooth extraction is required to alleviate their discomfort. Others have developed a cyst or abscess that requires treatment. However, some people never have problems with their wisdom teeth. At Oral & Facial Surgery of Northeast Texas, we evaluate each patient’s wisdom teeth situation individually.

If you are older and still have wisdom teeth, it may be simpler to let them be if they are not causing you problems. By your 40s, the teeth are firmly entrenched in the jawbone and may have long, complex roots that are difficult to remove.

For all the reasons above, we do not recommend wisdom tooth extraction in older patients until we have done a thorough examination. X-rays and digital imaging help us determine whether there is hidden damage or the potential for infection if your teeth are left in place. The best way to avoid discomfort and potential complications when you are over 30 is to have your wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 16 and 30.

If you have questions about wisdom teeth removal or are experiencing problems such as impacted, infected, or painful wisdom teeth, a consultation with one of our oral surgeons is crucial. Contact us at the Texarkana Office (Texarkana Office Phone Number903-794-3331) or the Paris Office (Paris Office Phone Number903-785-2541) for an appointment.

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