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What Are Wisdom Teeth & Why Might They Need to Be Removed? April 24, 2019

Honolulu, Honolulu
What Are Wisdom Teeth & Why Might They Need to Be Removed?, Honolulu, Hawaii

Located in the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are a set of third molars that emerge in young adulthood. While ancient humans relied on these teeth as a way to chew through tough foods, modern people have evolved to no longer need these molars. Since mouths are typically too small to accommodate these teeth, they can become painfully impacted or infected and, it’s common for people to have wisdom tooth removal.

Quick Guide to Wisdom Tooth Removal

How Do I Know If I Need Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your dentists will likely identify the molars growing during a routine exam via X-ray and recommend surgical removal. If your wisdom teeth weren’t removed, there are many signs that they may be causing problems. Most commonly, people will feel a tight, persistent pain in the back of the mouth where the molars are becoming impacted. This region may also swell, become infected, or bleed. You might also find it difficult to open your mouth.

Are There Risk?

The most concerning risk with lower third molar removal is the potential for permanent loss of sensation to the lower lip, gums, teeth, chin and tongue including taste.  Removing these teeth during the formative years  (15 – 17 years old) helps minimize this risk.  For upper third molar removal, opening into the sinus cavity may occur.  This usually heals itself however in rare instances, it needs to be closed surgically.

What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Removal?

wisdom tooth removalThis is a common procedure performed by an oral surgeon, and it’s usually completed within 30 minutes. First, you’ll be given anesthesia to prevent you from feeling pain during the treatment. Next, your surgeon will make a small opening along the gums where the molars are located. Using dental instruments, they’ll gently manipulate the surrounding bone and tooth to remove it. Lastly, the treatment area is cleaned and stitched to promote proper healing.

How Can I Plan for a Successful Recovery?

To ensure your mouth heals properly, you should take a few days off from school or work so that you can rest. Your oral surgeon will prescribe a series of aftercare instructions and pain relievers to minimize your discomfort.

Dry sockets are a risk of wisdom tooth removal, and they occur when the blood clots fall out, causing severe discomfort. To prevent this problem, it’s imperative that you avoid smoking, sucking thru a straw and do not flush out the socket during the first week.  To clean your mouth, rinse with hot salt water starting the day after surgery.

Eat whatever you can tolerate since moving your jaw will help decrease the swelling.  Decreasing the swelling in return will decrease your discomfort.


If you need of wisdom tooth removal, contact Lyle C. Yanagihara, DDS, MS, and his team in Honolulu, HI. This local practice is equipped to effectively perform a variety of oral procedures, including teeth removal, dental implants, and jaw surgery. Learn more about their wisdom tooth removal online, or call (808) 973-1433 to schedule an appointment.

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