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Dentistry/Wisdom teeth & facial aesthetics



I was wondering if you could tell me if facial changes are possible after wisdom teeth removal? I think I've noticed this in myself and my intuition/knowledge tell me this makes sense as the alveolar ridge/jaw would recede/atrophy like with other tooth exractions. Is this correct? As of now I am strongly considering getting dental implants to regenerate the bone.

Thanks so much,


ANSWER: It is possible for facial changes to occur.  Usually this relates to the swelling that accompanies wisdom tooth extraction, and it disappears after several days.  

If this has lasted longer than several days, or if you feel that you have changed in facial shape, make sure that you have not incurred some weight loss after the extractions.  This is more likely to change your facial shape than bone loss. Dental  Implants will not regenerate bone lost in the wisdom tooth area.  Bone grafting will.  But I do NOT recommend this,  I do recommend that you NOT tamper with these areas any further.  Allow 6 months for healing.  Then let me know at the end of this year how you feel.

In my over-40 years as a dentist, you are the first person to bring me this concern.  You need caution.  Not intervention

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dr. Finnk,

Thank you so much for your thorough answer. Is bone loss/jaw shrinkage usually incurred after removal? Like it is with other extractions?

Thanks so much again,


ANSWER: Yes.  But I have never heard of the bone loss from wisdom tooth extraction affecting the facial appearance.  

Unless treated with bone graft as part of the extraction process, after any extraction, including wisdom tooth extraction, the jawbone will shrink by about 2-4 millimeters in height and width.  The area of the jaw that the wisdom teeth are in is very long, large and wide.  So several millimeters of jawbone loss here due to wisdom tooth extraction should not be visible on your face.  And this bone loss from healing is not the same as physiologic bone shrinkage that occurs with age.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Dr. Fink,

Promise this is the last question, but is that a 2-4mm loss for every tooth that is lost? Thus if I had all 4 of mine extracted that would be a 10 to 16mm loss in height and width?

Thanks so much,


No.  That would be 2-4mm loss only at the sites of the extractions.  Thus your wisdom teeth removal would produce 2-4mm of bone loss only in each area.   Assuming that you have all your other teeth, the rest of your jaw would maintain its height and width.  

Experiment:  Imagine a semicircle of wood about the size of your jaw.  The wood is about 2.5 inches thick.  Now make a hole at each end that is 10mm in diameter and 2mm deep.   This will be the general defect left in your lower jaw by the loss of your 2 lower wisdom teeth.

If you were to lose the rest of your lower teeth, the bone loss would be significant.  Add to this the loss of lip and cheek support of the teeth themselves, the lower third of your face would sink inward.  This will not happen with the loss of only a few wisdom teeth.

Just be sure to keep the rest of your teeth.


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Howard Finnk, D.D.S., P.A., CEO


I am a Family, Implant and Cosmetic dentist. I will answer questions on any aspect of dentistry and matters relating to the smile, gums, jaws and lower face. Member American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, and Atlantic Coast District Dental Association. I have served as District Council Member of Alpha Omega, as well as serving for one term as its President. I am also a member of The Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, and Mount Sinai Hospital Guild. I have served as a Volunteer for Project Dental Health and The Tri-County Dental Health Council.


Having attained over 30 years of clinical experience in private practice in Michigan, in 2001 I was re-certified by taking and passing the Florida State Dental Board Examination. After moving to Florida, I spent nearly 10 years re-honing my skills while working as an Associate Dentist for several large dental groups. In September, 2004, I was appointed Adjunct Clinical Professor at Nova University's College of Dental Medicine. I am certified in placement of Mini Dental Implants, and I am Director of The Florida Implant Center ( On March 1, 2010, at the age of 62, I began all over again by buying a dental practice near my home in the Fort Lauderdale area. As sole owner and Chief Dental Officer of the new Nob Hill Dental Center (, I can now carefully provide dental care to patients who care, all within a caring, joyful environment. Over my career lifetime, I have provided thousands of diagnoses, fillings, crowns, bridges, root canals, periodontal treatments, TMJ therapies, partials, dentures and extractions, and dozens of implants for my patients. The only aspect of dentistry with which I have very little experience is orthodontics.

American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, Broward County Dental Association, Atlantic Coast District Dental Society, Vedder Honors Society, Broward Dental Research Clinic, Alpha Omega Alumni Association, and American Association of Dental Implantologists. Formerly, American Academy of General Dentistry, Michigan Dental Association, Macomb Dental Society, Detroit District Dental Society, Tri-County Dental Health Council (a charitable dental care organization)

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Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Psychology from Wayne State University Doctor of Dental Surgery from University of Detroit College of Dentistry Adjunct Clinical Professor, Special Needs Department, Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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