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What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If your impacted wisdom teeth aren't causing problems, you probably don't need to have them taken out. But it's hard to say for certain what will happen in the future.

If you keep your wisdom teeth

There's not enough good research to say for certain what will happen.

  • You may never get any symptoms from them at all. Many impacted wisdom teeth never cause problems. [2]

  • Your impacted wisdom teeth may eventually grow normally. [2]

  • On the other hand, you may get a problem in the future, such as an infection, a cavity or gum disease. Sometimes impacted wisdom teeth can damage nearby teeth and bone. [1] [3]

  • Some research looks at how likely it is you will get problems if your impacted wisdom teeth are not taken out. We found three studies that looked at what happened if impacted wisdom teeth that were not causing problems were left alone. The studies found that after about four to 12 years, between 3 in 10 and 6 in 10 people would need to have their impacted wisdom teeth taken out because they had developed problems such as an infection or gum disease. [7] [8]

  • Some studies have shown that people who delay having their impacted wisdom teeth taken out may experience more difficulties after surgery, such as a mouth infection, than those who don't wait. They may also take longer to recover. However, the reasons for this are not clear. [9] [10]

If you have your wisdom teeth taken out

If you do have your wisdom teeth removed, it will take awhile to recover from the operation. Younger people tend to recover faster than older people.

  • The operation can cause pain and swelling.

  • This can mean you are off work or school for several days.

  • There's a risk of more permanent problems, such as numbness in your lower lip or tongue.

To read more about the risks of surgery, see Removing impacted wisdom teeth that aren't causing problems.


For references related to Wisdom teeth, impacted click here.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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