Wisdom Teeth Removal & Sinus Complications


Wisdom teeth, also called third year molars, are usually removed if your jawbone is too small to accommodate them. Most oral surgeons recommend having your wisdom teeth removed sometime in your teen years. Normally, wisdom-tooth removal is a simple procedure, however if the upper wisdom teeth are in close proximity to your sinus cavity there could be complications.

Benefits of removal

By the time you are an adult, you will normally have 16 teeth in your top jaw and 16 teeth in your bottom jaw including your wisdom teeth. You may not be able to see your wisdom teeth because they may be impacted in your jawbone. Since most mouths can only accommodate 28 teeth, your wisdom teeth may push on your other teeth and cause crowding, or may only come up partially and cause infections and tooth decay.

Early removal

Wisdom-tooth removal has fewer complications when your wisdom teeth are not fully grown. Wisdom teeth usually come in after your 12-year molars, so that means they should come in during your teen years. Wisdom teeth that are fully-grown have longer roots and can cause complications if those roots extend into the upper jaw near the sinus cavity.

Perforated Sinus

The maxillary sinus cavity is above the top jaw behind the cheekbones. When your wisdom teeth are removed, the sinus cavity may be exposed or perforated if the wisdom teeth root extends into it. This occurrence is less likely when the roots have not formed on your wisdom teeth yet.

Blood Clot Forms

If the sinus cavity is exposed during wisdom-tooth surgery it will probably close on its own. After wisdom teeth are removed, a clot forms in the hole to start the healing process, this clot is normal and should not be disturbed. When you leave the dental office, your oral surgeon has you bite down on gauze pads to help form the clot that keeps the sinus area closed off from your mouth.

After the Surgery

The oral surgeon sends you home with instructions to take care of the sinus opening so it will heal normally. The surgeon usually prescribes antibiotics to avoid infection. He may also prescribe a decongestant to keep the sinuses clear during healing. He will instruct you not to drink out of a straw and to avoid sneezing to keep from dislodging the protective clot that has formed.


If your sinus was perforated you may notice blood in your nose or experience nose bleeds. Swelling and pain is normal after wisdom-tooth removal, but if you do experience more pain than normal in the sinus area, call your oral surgeon. If the perforation does not heal on its own, your oral surgeon can do surgery to cover the opening with gum tissue.

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