How Old Is Too Old to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Mar 02, 2024

How Old Is Too Old to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Getting your wisdom teeth removed almost feels like a rite of passage when you’re a teen or young adult. But those of you who were advised against wisdom tooth removal in your younger days may wonder what your options are later in life. 

Let’s face it: Wisdom teeth rarely appear without making an entrance, and now you’re experiencing pain and discomfort thanks to those extra molars. 

Are you stuck with them?

Our team of dentists at Lifetime Dental Care in Woodbridge, Virginia, is here with the facts on wisdom tooth removal and the truth about “age limits” on the procedure. 

Why we remove wisdom teeth so early

Our wisdom tooth removal patients are usually somewhere around 15-22 years old. We prefer to take them out at that age because the roots of your wisdom teeth haven't fully formed yet. 

A budding root is much easier to extract than a fully grown one. This makes the surgery much less complicated, reduces the risk of complications, and shortens the recovery time. 

The cutoff for wisdom tooth removal

The truth is, there’s no red line when it comes to wisdom tooth removal. We can extract your extra molars at virtually any point in your life, especially if one or more has become impacted, damaged other teeth, or caused any of the following:

  • Jaw swelling
  • Jaw pain
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Infection
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Cysts

The only drawback of removing your wisdom teeth past the prime extraction age is an increased risk of complications, including potential effects on nearby nerves. Our team walks you through those possible complications so you know exactly what to expect. 

Tips for an easy extraction

Since your extraction comes with a few more risks, it’s best to head into your appointment with some of the basics in your back pocket. 

If you’ve never had a tooth pulled, here’s a closer look at what your appointment will look like. 


We begin by preparing the extraction site. Depending on your health status, the type of extraction we’re performing, and the position of your wisdom teeth, we may numb the site with a local anesthetic or sedate you. 


With your tooth prepared, we carefully cut into your gums to remove it. If your tooth has erupted and is visible, we can usually loosen and pull it out easily; impacted teeth require more dental surgery to completely extract them. 

Once your tooth is gone, we clean the socket so a blood clot can form. We may insert a bone graft to strengthen your jaw where your tooth was removed. 


Recovering from wisdom tooth removal can take up to a few weeks. We send you home with a course of prescription pain medication to get you through the most tender first few days and detailed, customized care instructions. 

It’s most important to leave the blood clot intact while the wound heals. That means taking great care not to rinse your mouth out, suck on a straw, or chew on the surgical site. We recommend eating soft foods like yogurt, smoothies, and mashed potatoes that are easy to swallow and require little chewing. 

You can manage pain and swelling with over-the-counter pain medications and cold compresses. After a few days, you should start feeling better; after a few weeks, you should be nearly or completely healed. 

If you have more questions about what to expect from wisdom tooth removal, whatever your age, don't hesitate to call our office at 703-499-9779 or use our online booking tool to talk with an expert today.