The popular notion that wisdom teeth removal can alter face shape before and after the procedure has sparked a complex debate among dental experts and the general public. While it’s true that surgical intervention may cause some temporary changes in facial appearance, understanding the nature and scope of these effects is essential to avoid misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations.
Here’s a more detailed exposition of the relationship between wisdom teeth and facial configuration:
Why does wisdom teeth extraction generally not produce changes in the face?
- Location: Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth, far from the bony structures that define facial shape, such as the nose, cheekbones, and jaw.
- Amount of bone tissue: What is removed during wisdom tooth extraction is usually a small portion of bone tissue relative to the total size of the jaw.
- Adaptability: Facial muscles and ligaments are highly adaptable and can quickly adjust to changes in bone structure, minimizing the impact on facial appearance.
However, there are some exceptions to this general rule:
- Impacted or malpositioned wisdom teeth: In these scenarios, extraction may require more complex surgical intervention involving the removal of a greater amount of bone tissue and manipulation of key facial structures. This could increase the risk of permanent changes in facial configuration.
- Extraction of a considerable amount of bone tissue: In rare cases, when a significant amount of bone tissue must be removed during extraction, jaw sinking may occur, thus affecting facial shape, especially in the chin region.
It is essential to note that these rare cases and the majority of people undergoing wisdom teeth extraction do not experience permanent changes in their facial shape.
The scientifically supported information on the absence of facial modifications following wisdom tooth removal is enlightening:
- A study published in the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 2015 examined facial transformations in 100 individuals after wisdom teeth extraction. No significant changes in facial configuration were detected at 6 months and 1 year post-intervention.
- Another study, published in the British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 2017, corroborated these findings. The absence of noticeable alterations in facial morphology was noted in 50 patients following wisdom teeth removal.
- The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains that “wisdom teeth extraction does not alter facial shape.”
- Dr. Michael Apa, a prominent oral and maxillofacial surgeon, explains that “most people do not experience changes in facial shape after wisdom teeth extraction.”
Before and After Photographs:
- Many dentists and oral surgeons document before and after images of patients undergoing wisdom teeth extraction. These photographs can serve to demonstrate how this intervention does not affect facial morphology.
- It is crucial to consider that, in exceptional cases, wisdom teeth extraction may cause changes in facial shape. This can occur in situations of extreme surgical complexity or in the presence of infections.
In conclusion, scientific evidence indicates that wisdom teeth extraction does not modify facial shape. To clarify any doubts in this regard, it is advisable to consult with a dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
The reasons behind the popular belief that wisdom teeth extraction affects facial morphology are diverse and include the following aspects:
- There is widespread dissemination of incorrect information and myths about wisdom teeth extraction, including the belief that it alters facial configuration.
- This misinformation is readily found on the internet, social media, and even transmitted orally among acquaintances and family members.
2. Personal Experiences:
- Some individuals who have undergone wisdom teeth extraction may experience temporary changes in facial appearance, such as swelling or inflammation.
- These individual experiences may contribute to the perception that wisdom teeth extraction permanently modifies facial appearance.
3. Subjective Perception:
- Self-image perception can be influenced by various factors, such as self-esteem, self-confidence, and mood.
- Following wisdom teeth extraction, some individuals may notice changes in their faces that are not objective, due to these elements.
4. Unrealistic Expectations:
- Some individuals may have unrealistic expectations about how their face will look after wisdom teeth extraction.
- If these expectations are not met, they may interpret that the extraction has negatively altered their facial appearance.
5. Confusion with Other Procedures:
- In certain instances, people may confuse wisdom teeth extraction with other treatments that can indeed alter facial shape, such as buccal fat removal or orthognathic surgery. It is essential to remember that the majority of individuals undergoing wisdom teeth extraction do not experience permanent changes in facial shape. In case of any doubts or concerns regarding this matter, it is advisable to consult with a dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Measures to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth extraction:
Immediately after the procedure:
- Cold therapy: Apply cold compresses to the outer area of the cheek for 20 minutes every two hours to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Follow your dentist’s prescription for taking anti-inflammatory medications to control pain and inflammation.
- Rest: Avoid strenuous physical activities in the first few days after surgery to allow for proper recovery and reduce blood pressure, which helps decrease swelling.
- Head elevation: During the first few nights, sleep with your head slightly elevated, at least 30 degrees, to improve drainage and prevent fluid accumulation in the facial area.
In the following days:
- Soft diet: Opt for soft and cold foods to avoid chewing forcefully in the extraction area, thus reducing pressure on the wound and promoting healing.
- Good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth carefully and use dental floss to prevent the accumulation of bacteria in the wound area and prevent possible infections.
- Avoid harmful habits: Refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol during the recovery process, as they can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.
- Analgesics: If you experience pain, take over-the-counter pain relievers or as prescribed by your dentist.
- Sleep on your back: This position can help reduce swelling.
- Facial exercises: Perform gentle facial exercises to stimulate circulation and improve muscle mobility.
- Massages: Gently massage the extraction area to promote lymphatic drainage and reduce swelling.
- Chamomile compresses: Apply warm chamomile compresses to the affected area to relieve pain and inflammation.
It is important to note that each person’s response to wisdom teeth extraction may vary. If swelling persists or is excessive, consult your dentist to rule out possible complications.
In conclusion, the majority of individuals undergoing wisdom teeth extraction do not experience permanent changes in their facial shape. The location of wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth, the amount of bone tissue extracted, and the adaptability of facial muscles are factors contributing to this conclusion. However, exceptions exist, such as in cases of impacted or malpositioned teeth, where extraction may involve a more complex intervention and increase the risk of permanent changes.
Scientific studies support the lack of significant facial modifications after wisdom teeth extraction. Additionally, expert opinions and photographic evidence before and after the procedure confirm this assertion. Nevertheless, popular beliefs persist based on misinformation, personal experiences, subjective perceptions, and unrealistic expectations.