Updated: Oct 14, 2022
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is highly unlikely for it to change the shape of your face afterwards. The primary reason for that is because they do not contribute to your facial shape. However, there is one rare exception where taking out your third molars will change the shape of your face.
Wisdom teeth do not affect your facial shape
Wisdom teeth have no effect on your facial shape because they are so far back that they do not contribute to facial structure. Your facial structure is determined by your teeth in only two ways:
Front teeth. The front teeth pushes your lips out so that they don't collapse inward. As long as you have front teeth, your face won't look sunken in.
Back teeth. When you bite down, the back teeth prevents your bite from collapsing. As long as you have SOME back teeth, your bite won't collapse. This presents your face from collapsing down.
What that means is that the back teeth prop the bite open and prevent it from closing completely. In case you were wondering, most people's wisdom teeth are impacted. The lower wisdom teeth are not in occlusion with the upper wisdom teeth.
Since impacted wisdom teeth don't even contribute to your bite, they therefore do not affect your facial structure at all.
You want to know what affects your facial shape more than wisdom teeth?
Dentures have a significant effect on your facial shape, much more so than your wisdom teeth. Dentures replace your front teeth and your back teeth. Therefore they push your lips out and prevent your bite from collapsing.
Here is a video showing a change in facial structure from having dentures in and having them out:
Here is a picture showing a person's facial profile with dentures in and with them out:
In case you were wondering, dentures do NOT have wisdom teeth in them. Most dentures only have 14 teeth in each set. If they had wisdom teeth in them they would have 16 teeth. Therefore, wisdom teeth are inconsequential for your facial shape.
Rare exception for when wisdom teeth do affect your facial shape
Despite your wisdom teeth having no effect on your face shape, there is one rare scenario where they do. If you happen to be missing ALL of your teeth except your four wisdom teeth. If you are in that situation and then you have all four of the wisdom teeth taken out, your face would collapse because your bite will collapse since there are no more back teeth to hold it open.
That is literally the only time that taking out your wisdom teeth will change the shape of your face. In case you were wondering how likely it was to find someone who is missing all of their teeth except their wisdom teeth... that is incredibly rare and we're not sure it even exists! The reason is because the wisdom teeth tend to develop problems like cavities since they are difficult to clean. That means they usually get removed first before all of your other teeth.
Super rare exception:
There is in fact one additional possibility for your face shape changing after taking out wisdom teeth and that is if your jaw breaks during the procedure. A tell tale sign of a broken jaw is a misaligned bite.
You will notice that you can't quite close your mouth normally. Your face may also look lopsided. This is a serious complication for wisdom teeth removal. However, it is incredibly rare and most dentists have never experienced it nor will they in their lifetime.
It is perfectly safe for you to have your wisdom teeth taken out. You do not have to worry about your face shape changing afterwards because they do NOT contribute to your facial structure.
What will affect the shape of your face more than the third molars do are your front teeth. It is of utmost importance to replace your front teeth as soon as they are extracted because without them, your lips will sink inwards.
Now that you understand, you no longer have to be afraid about taking out your wisdom teeth. What are you waiting for? Go get them taken out!
Author: Written by Dr David Chen, a general dentist in Long Island City.