Benefits Of Wisdom Teeth Removal


The wisdom tooth, also known as the third molar, is the collective name of the 4 teeth at the very back of the mouth. Most people have 4 wisdom teeth, one in each corner, but it is possible to have 2 or none. It is the last set of adult teeth that comes through, and “erupts”, usually during the late teens or early twenties. 

There is also the possibility that even though the wisdom teeth are inside the gums, they never erupt. This is because of the late eruption date. Usually, by the time this happens, the rest of the adult teeth have already erupted, and the wisdom teeth don't have any space to come out.1

If the wisdom teeth erupt at an angle or get stuck, it becomes an impacted tooth and may cause further health problems such as pain, swelling, tooth decay, or inflamed gums. This is a common occurrence as up to 80% of European young adults have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.2 Although impacted wisdom teeth that are not causing any health problems don’t need to be removed as an unnecessary surgery to remove them carries its own complications.1, 3

If the wisdom teeth are causing health problems, or the dentist thinks that is highly likely to cause trouble in the future, they may either offer to remove it themselves or in some cases refer you to the dental surgery department. If the wisdom teeth are causing too much pain, damaging the jaw or the neighboring teeth, causing infection in the mouth, or preventing other teeth in the mouth from forming properly, you can benefit from wisdom teeth removal.1,2,5

Preventing dental problems

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and ulceration of the gums in the area. It can also further damage the neighboring teeth as it can damage the roots of second molars or cause decay. It may also cause gum disease of the mouth and even play a part in the development of cysts or tumors in the area.1,4

Tooth decay

Although the first thing that comes to mind with tooth decay is sugary foods, there are other reasons for it to happen including impacted wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth that are not fully erupted are especially at risk of tooth decay as it makes it harder to clean the tooth. This leads to food and bacteria building up in the area and causes the formation of plaque. Plaque formation may also spread to the neighboring teeth and cause decay in both of them. Depending on the severity of the decay, root canal treatment or even extraction of both teeth might be needed.1,4,6

Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is when the gums swell up, become sore and start bleeding. Just like tooth decay, it is also caused by plaque formation. And just like tooth decay, impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth may cause gum disease in the area. Although it is a common condition, if untreated gum disease may cause teeth to become loose and even fall out. 


As mentioned above, wisdom teeth usually erupt or try to erupt and become impacted when the rest of the mouth is fully developed. In some cases, the wisdom teeth try to force their way up, and by doing so apply pressure to the rest of the mouth. This is known as crowding of the mouth and it can also lead to tooth decay and gum disease as well as pain and difficulty chewing.4 Although whether wisdom teeth extraction reduces crowding or not is up for debate,8 because it reduces the risk of tooth decay and infection it can be beneficial to the patient. 

Reducing pain and discomfort

All the health complications discussed above are usually accompanied by pain, which can be reduced or eliminated with wisdom teeth extraction. 

Wisdom teeth pain

Because of lack of space, potential obstruction, or abnormal position of the wisdom teeth, pain is the most common symptom associated with it. When and if pain medication alone cannot alleviate this symptom, surgical wisdom tooth extraction is the preferred treatment option for pain.1,2,4,5

Headaches & Earaches

As well as the pain the wisdom teeth causes on their own, they can also exert pressure on the muscles and nerves in the jaw. When the pressure hits the mandibular nerve, which is the nerve running through the jaw, it can cause headaches and earaches. This is because this nerve branch is part of the trigeminal nerve system, which is the nerve in charge of facial sensation and muscle functions such as biting. When part of this nerve is affected by the pressure caused by the wisdom teeth, pain may travel towards the cheek, jaw, around the eye, and top of the ear. It can even cause tinnitus in the ear and cause earache as well as headaches.9,10 In these cases, extraction of the wisdom teeth will remove the source of the pain.  

Decreasing the risk of infection


Pericoronitis is the inflammation and infection of the soft tissue around an erupted tooth. It is commonly associated with wisdom teeth eruption. Pericoronitis is very common, affecting 60% of all people undergoing wisdom teeth extraction, and is the most common reason behind it.1,12


Abscess is a painful collection of pus and bacteria. It is common if chronic pericoronitis is left untreated. Abscess can form around neighboring teeth and may even cause extraction of both.11 Timely wisdom teeth removal is a proven way of decreasing the risk of infection and subsequent complications.

Improving oral hygiene

Easier brushing and flossing

Crowding of the mouth will reduce the distance between the teeth. Reduced distance between the teeth will mean the toothbrush and dental floss won't be able to reach everywhere they are supposed to. This causes food and bacterial residue, which will eventually cause plaque buildup resulting in further oral problems. 1,4,6,7

Preventing plaque buildup

As discussed above, plaque buildup is the leading cause of infection and tooth decay, as well as bad breath. Because wisdom teeth removal can improve mouth cleaning and greatly reduce plaque buildup, it is beneficial for one's oral hygiene. 1,4,6,7

Preventing systemic diseases

Cardiovascular disease & stroke

Bacterial infections caused by wisdom teeth may also cause systemic health problems. When these are untreated, infection may jump into the bloodstream and can cause heart disease and even stroke. According to Journal of Dental Research, people with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems. These infections can cause abscess build-ups in the bloodstream and even cause a stroke if they block the blood flow.13


As we can see, impacted wisdom teeth can have a lot of negative effects on our health in general. It can cause pain, and infection, and may even result in the loss of multiple teeth. That is why the timely removal of wisdom teeth has great potential for improving one's health. A dentist will do the removal process and can even be done pain-free via sedation. 


  1. NHS, wisdom tooth removal,
  2. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-Cologne, Germany.
  3. Friedman JW. The prophylactic extraction of third molars: a public health hazard. Am J Public Health. 2007 Sep;97(9):1554-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.100271. Epub 2007 Jul 31. PMID: 17666691; PMCID: PMC1963310.
  4. Ghaeminia H, Nienhuijs ME, Toedtling V, Perry J, Tummers M, Hoppenreijs TJ, Van der Sanden WJ, Mettes TG. Surgical removal versus retention for the management of asymptomatic disease-free impacted wisdom teeth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 May 4;5(5):CD003879. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003879.pub5. PMID: 32368796; PMCID: PMC7199383.
  5. Coulthard P, Bailey E, Esposito M, Furness S, Renton TF, Worthington HV. Surgical techniques for the removal of mandibular wisdom teeth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(7):CD004345. Published 2014 Jul 29. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004345.pub2
  6. NHS, Tooth Decay,
  7. NHS, Gum Disease,
  8. Zawawi KH, Melis M. The role of mandibular third molars on lower anterior teeth crowding and relapse after orthodontic treatment: a systematic review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:615429. doi:10.1155/2014/615429
  9. Cranial Nerve 5 Neuroanatomy,
  10. Orofacial Pain,
  11. Problems with erupting wisdom teeth: signs, symptoms, and management, British Journal of General Practice 2016; 66 (649): e606-e608. DOI:,
  12. Wisdom Teeth overview, GSTT,
  13. Oral Health Foundation
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Kutal Mete Tekin

MRes, Bioengineering, Imperial College London

Kutal trained as a medical doctor in Istanbul before moving to London for this research masters at Imperial College London. He works as a part time medical interpreter with the NHS. His written work can also be seen in the motor sports sector as he has been a freelance sports writer and and editor since 2016. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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