The Myths About Wisdom Teeth Removal

wisdom teeth myths

Have you ever witnessed the horrible phenomenon described below?

A friend is expecting a baby and as soon as she starts to talk about the issue with a group of mothers, she is exposed to horror stories about difficult child birthing experiences.

Not very conducive to an event that the soon-to-be mother has any real control over, is it? Interestingly enough, if you ask a group of people about wisdom teeth removal you may have a similar experience. In fact, you may become a victim to people competing to tell the worst tales of wisdom teeth extraction, and yet many of them are really over-exaggerating the entire thing.

For example, a good friend once said that she renamed herself “Lockjaw” and started telling people she looked like a character straight out of a “Dick Tracy” cartoon for weeks after her wisdom tooth extraction. The thing is, I saw her two days after, and then again a week later, and I hardly noticed the swelling at all!

What does this tell us about wisdom tooth removal? It says that a lot of people are so scared and upset by the process that they really inflate any side effects when they recall them or when they relate them to others. This is done so often, and to such an extensive degree, that many people in need of wisdom teeth removal will skip the procedure until it is absolutely imperative that something is done.

Separating Fact from Fiction

So, let’s just use my friend as a very good example about the mythology surrounding wisdom teeth extraction.

Only two of her teeth had erupted and one of the remaining teeth was very difficult to remove. This did lead to swelling in her gum and face, but only for about 48 hours. She had feared the least amount of pain or swelling and this led her to believe that she was similar in appearance to some sort of cartoon caricature.

This leads us to pose questions about the most common myths that patients should really ignore if they are holding off on wisdom tooth extraction out of fear of them.

  1. Pain – this is the biggest myth behind wisdom tooth removal and it is almost silly because of the tremendous options for pain management available. Most patients have to be driven to and from the procedure because they are given everything from mild sedatives that keep them calm in the hours leading up to the extraction to “twilight” treatment that leaves them unaware of the procedure at all. After the process is done, any patients with the potential for abnormal pain (such as those with un-erupted teeth or nerve interference) will be given prescription pain treatments too.
  2. Necessity – this is another problematic myth because it often allows the patient to feel as if the choice to have the wisdom teeth removed is really in their hands. Let’s be direct here: the choice about removal has to be in your dental professional’s hands because they know when the teeth are going to remain safe or when they will pose health threats.
  3. Cost – it is not going to break the bank to have wisdom teeth removed, but it can be more than most can handle “out of pocket”. The best dental experts have everything from financing to credit card options to help manage costs.

There are more myths associated with wisdom tooth extraction, and I urge you to ignore them all and visit your dentist!


  1. Thanks so much for writing this. I need my wisdom teeth removed as I was told it will create problems if removal does not happen. I was so worried about what would be involved but this really is reassuring, thanks!

  2. I am one of those who has had a bad experience from having my wisdom teeth removed. In defense of others like me, I just want to point out that your one friend who exaggerated about her cheeks swelling is not evidence that “a lot of people are so scared and upset by the process that they really inflate any side effects.” I can’t tell you how much I wish my experience of actually having a partially locked jaw for a year and a half was an exaggeration. It really sucked. My advice for those needing to get their wisdom teeth removed: Do your research and use the best dentist you can find.


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