In most cases, people older than 30 years of age have already had their wisdom teeth out or don't have issues with their wisdom teeth. But if you're over 40 and need the procedure done, take heart. You can get through it—It just might take you longer to recuperate. Nevertheless, by having a positive outlook and following your dentist's instructions, you'll be fine. Here's why it's more difficult and what to expect after your procedure.

Why Wisdom Teeth Removal is Harder for People 40 and Older

Wisdom teeth extractions can be riskier for older people. The main threat is nerve injury. Other hazards include dry socket and root fracture. An extraction is more difficult in older people because their bones are harder. Also, their tooth roots are more developed, making the procedure riskier and more challenging. The easier time to extract a tooth is when the tooth root is two-thirds developed. What's more, teeth can also move as you age.

What to Expect After Your Procedure

  • Wisdom teeth extraction can be more uncomfortable than other extractions. You can expect to have some pain after your local anesthetic has worn off. However, prescribed pain killers should help.
  • Your saliva will probably be stained for the next two to three days following your procedure. Bleeding is managed by biting down on gauze dressings that will need to be regularly changed.
  • Expect to have some swelling. You can reduce swelling by applying ice packs on your cheeks. There may be some bruising, but it will fade over time.
  • You may experience some issues such as tongue numbness or tingling, chewing and have a hard time opening your mouth. Fortunately, these problems are only temporary. As the inflammation goes down, and your mouth starts to heal, your symptoms will improve.


  • Call your dentist immediately if bleeding fails to stop after 24 hours following your extraction.
  • Don't smoke or use a straw as this can loosen your blood clot, which can lead to dry socket.
  • Don't lie flat because this can aggravate bleeding. Instead, use a pillow to prop your head.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise while recuperating as you don't want to trigger excess bleeding.


If you think it's impossible to grow a wisdom tooth in old age, consider this. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a dental x-ray taken in 2003 showed a wisdom tooth developing on an 80-year-old South African man, Timotheus Louw. At first, this new tooth was thought to be a splinter.

Although it may be harder to recuperate from wisdom teeth surgery if you're older, you still need to have it done, especially if your dentist recommends it. Ignoring your wisdom teeth can make you more at risk for periodontal problems. Please consult your dentist, such as Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Associates, if you have any questions about removing your wisdom teeth.