It’s not unusual to experience dizziness after wisdom teeth extraction. It may occur for several reasons.

Before undergoing wisdom teeth extraction, you may want to consider post-procedure side effects, such as dizziness. Symptoms of dizziness may include feelings of spinning, disorientation, and confusion. You may also have blurry vision.

Learn more about the possible causes and when you should see a doctor for help.

Dizziness can arise from a variety of health reasons, including oral surgery. According to a 2021 case report and literature review, wisdom teeth removal may cause dizziness due to prolonged surgery time, having your mouth open for an extended period, and the use of rotary and surgical tools.

Below are some of the most common reasons why a tooth extraction may cause dizziness.

Inflammation in the mouth

Inflammation from oral surgeries like wisdom tooth removal may lead to temporomandibular disorders (TMD) that can also cause ontological (ear-related) problems, such as vertigo and balance issues.

Anesthesia or other medications

Dizziness is also a common side effect of sedation or general anesthesia used during procedures like wisdom teeth removal. You may also experience nausea and vomiting. Side effects from general anesthesia usually resolve within 1 to 2 days, and drinking fluids can help reduce associated dizziness.

Prescription pain medications taken after your procedure may also cause temporary dizziness.

Changes in blood pressure

Standing up too quickly after lying down for long periods of time, such as during wisdom tooth removal, may cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Also known as orthostatic hypotension, this type of low blood pressure may cause temporary dizziness upon standing up.

Not eating or drinking before the procedure

According to the 2021 case report mentioned earlier, which involved wisdom teeth removal with local anesthesia, researchers theorized that not eating before the procedure may have worsened post-procedure side effects, such as nausea.

Dehydration is another possible nonvestibular cause of dizziness. It’s possible this may develop from not drinking enough fluids before your surgery.

However, keep in mind that if you’re receiving general anesthesia for your wisdom teeth extraction, a surgeon will likely advise that you do not eat or drink several hours before the procedure.

Nerve or inner ear damage

Inflammation, infection, and damage to your nerves and inner ears can also cause dizziness. Inner ear damage and dizziness are also known as labyrinthitis. Nerves that send signals to your brain to control your balance may also become damaged (vestibular neuritis).

Tension and fatigue

Feeling stressed, or having tension and fatigue are other nonvestibular causes of dizziness. It’s possible to experience these following a surgical procedure like wisdom teeth removal, which may temporarily cause balance issues and lightheadedness.

How long you might experience dizziness following wisdom teeth extraction depends on the underlying cause. For example, dizziness related to general anesthesia may wear off within hours or a couple of days.

You can help prevent dizziness after a tooth extraction by resting and not standing up too quickly after you have been lying down. Your dentist may advise that you avoid strenuous activities for the first few days after your extraction.

It’s also important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids after your tooth extraction may also help reduce the side effects of anesthesia.

Other possible side effects of wisdom tooth extraction may include:

  • Effects from general anesthesia: Aside from dizziness, you might experience nausea, confusion, or shivering as the medication wears off.
  • Bleeding: Excessive bleeding may occur at the site of extraction.
  • Infection: This may cause pain, swelling, and discharge at the extraction site, as well as fever.
  • Nerve damage: This type of injury may cause numbness and tingling around your teeth, gums, and tongue. Nerve damage after this procedure usually lasts several weeks or months but can sometimes be permanent.
  • Not being able to fully open your mouth: This may last for a few hours or up to a few days.

Consider contacting your dentist if your dizziness is severe, even while lying down, or if it persists for longer than a few days.

You should also call them if you’re experiencing

  • excessive bleeding
  • signs of an infection
  • numbness that develops after your tooth socket has healed

Before undergoing wisdom tooth extraction, it’s important to ask your dentist about potential side effects, such as dizziness. You may also consider following up with them if you experience dizziness several days after your procedure.

Can dental anesthetic cause vertigo?

Depending on your situation, a dentist may choose a local or general anesthetic for wisdom teeth removal. It’s unclear whether anesthesia may cause vertigo, though it’s possible to experience dizziness.

While dizziness is a common side effect associated with general anesthesia used during more invasive surgeries, it’s still possible to experience temporary dizziness with a local anesthetic, too.

Is dizziness a symptom of dry socket?

A dry socket is a common complication that may develop after tooth extraction. It occurs when a tooth socket doesn’t clot correctly, exposing the bone underneath.

This is a painful condition that may develop 3 to 5 days after wisdom tooth removal. It can also cause dizziness and a bad taste in your mouth.

What if I’m still feeling dizzy 5 days or more after tooth extraction?

Any dizziness that persists after tooth extraction recovery should be addressed by a doctor. This could indicate more serious complications, such as an infection, or an unrelated health condition.

Dizziness is a common occurrence after procedures like wisdom tooth extraction. It’s often temporary, though more severe or persistent dizziness could indicate complications from surgery.

While removing your wisdom teeth outweighs the risk of such side effects, it’s still important to understand the causes of feeling dizzy after your procedure. This can help you determine whether you need to follow up with a doctor for further evaluation and treatment.