Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Face and Jaw Surgery

Jaws cracked after removing wisdom teeth.

05/09/2007

Question:

My husband was told by his dentist that he needed to remove 2 wisdom teeth and a food pocket. One of the teeth was half growth and still inside his bone. The Doctor removed both teeth and the food pocket saying that could be cancerous(no cancer was found). After a few days his jaw made a strange noise but the doctor said that everything was Ok. After 2 month and after continue pain he found out that the jaw cracked open and now is about 1/8 inch separated. Now the doctor said he needs to consult other colleagues and set up an appointment with his teacher at the university of San Francisco. We need more information about what happened and what is next. Is this common? Remove the wisdom teeth at age 53 was that important? Please help.

Answer:

Mandibular fractures after wisdom tooth extraction is a well documented potential complication.  By your description, it appears that the fracture occurred after surgery and not during surgery.  To remove an impacted wisdom tooth, the clinician has to remove some of the bone around the tooth to "free it up" and allow for its retrieval.  This can weaken the jaw at the extraction site and becomes a weak point through which the bone can potentially fracture. 

Regarding whether or not there were indications to remove these teeth at age 53, I truly can't comment since I don't have the benefit of a clinical exam or a radiograph.  Having said that, I can tell you that I have removed wisdom teeth on patients significantly older than your husband because of a problem developed later in life.  A clear example is a 72 year old lady I treated 2 weeks ago and the 63 year-old father of one of colleagues whom I'll be operating on next week.

For more information:

Go to the Face and Jaw Surgery health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Guillermo  E Chacon, DDS Guillermo E Chacon, DDS
Formerly:
Associate Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University