Wisdom Tooth Pain: Signs And Symptoms, Treatment Options

No one ever looks forward to their wisdom teeth coming in. For many, the experience is accompanied by pain and swelling.

If you’re experiencing severe discomfort in your gum area where you suspect wisdom teeth are developing, it’s essential to understand the causes and treatment options available to you. Dentists may suggest wisdom tooth removal, a dental procedure that performed to extract the painful wisdom tooth.

If you have wisdom tooth pain or if you’re considering extraction, keep reading this blog post as we’ll discuss when they typically come in and the other symptoms to look for.

What Is A Wisdom Tooth?

untitled design (6)Your mouth experiences changes as you age, one of which is the development of wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are the third molars positioned at the far back of your mouth. Normally, most people have four wisdom teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. Others may have only a few or none at all.

Since they are the last set of teeth to come in, wisdom teeth often don’t have enough space in the mouth and can develop at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. A tooth that fails to erupt normally because of a tissue, bone or another tooth is called an impacted tooth. When wisdom teeth become impacted, they can crowd or damage other teeth, causing pain, infection, or other problems. If you have a wisdom tooth causing problems, your dentist may recommend removing them.

What Age Do Wisdom Teeth Come?

In most cases, wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. They are called wisdom teeth because they come out at a more mature age.

However, one study has shown that the development of wisdom teeth starts at the young age of 6, and the entire process takes years, which continues until they erupt by the age of 24 to 25 completely. Also, the researchers concluded that the third molars might usually develop earlier in the upper arch (upper jaw) than in the lower arch (upper jaw) and are more common among males than females.

It’s important to note that the process of developing a wisdom tooth is unique and depends on your individual circumstances. While most people may start to notice their wisdom teeth during their late teens, some may have them during early adulthood.

How Do I Know When My Wisdom Tooth Is Coming In?

You may not even know you have wisdom teeth until they start causing pain. Without an X-ray, the only way to tell if your wisdom teeth are about to break through is to look for signs and symptoms such as pain in the jaw area, difficulty chewing, and redness in your gums that may be an indication of their eruption.

The other way to know if they are about to develop is to get a dental X-ray. In particular, a panoramic X-ray can reveal the position of your wisdom teeth and if they’re close to erupting. This type of X-ray captures all teeth and jaws in one image, so it’s a helpful tool for dentists to use when monitoring wisdom teeth development.

If the wisdom teeth are positioned close to the surface of the gums, it’s likely that they’ll start to come in soon. Our dentist can give you more information about your specific situation.

How Can I Ease Wisdom Tooth Pain?

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While home remedies may be effective in managing pain, it is essential to consult with a dentist to know the best course of action. By taking proactive steps while waiting for the wisdom tooth removal, you can find relief from the discomfort.

Ice Pack.
Applying an ice pack to your cheeks or jaw area may help reduce swelling and inflammation. Using cold compress can also have a numbing effect, which can lessen the pain.

Saltwater Rinse.
It’s no secret that salt water has natural disinfectant properties. In fact, a 2010 study showed that salt water mouth rinses could help reduce bacteria in the mouth. This is especially helpful for people with swollen gums around their wisdom teeth, as a build-up of bacteria can cause pain and infection. By rinsing with salt water, they can help kill bacteria and reduce discomfort.

Crushed Garlic And Ginger.
A 2016 study found that garlic is one of the most effective plant remedies for killing pathogens. And when you combine garlic with crushed ginger, it becomes even more effective. To use this remedy, simply crush raw garlic into a paste-like consistency and then add fresh, chopped ginger. Apply the crushed garlic and ginger paste to your gums and leave it for a few minutes before rinsing off.

In some cases, home remedies such as over-the-counter pain medication or salt water rinses may help ease the pain of an impacted wisdom tooth. However, if the pain is severe or does not go away after a few days, it is important to see a dentist. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that professionals recommend to relieve the pain and prevent complications from wisdom teeth. So if you are experiencing wisdom tooth pain, don’t suffer in silence and make an appointment with our dentist today.

What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Removal?


 Simple Extraction

Before any oral surgical treatment is performed, the dentist will give the patient a thorough explanation of the procedure. This will include an explanation of why the procedure is necessary, the risks and potential complications, and how long the process may take. The patient will also be asked to sign a consent form before the procedure can go ahead.

Local anaesthesia is administered for pain management. This numbs the area around the tooth so the patient can be comfortable during the procedure. Yet, it is common to feel some pressure just before the tooth is extracted, as the dentist needs to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth. However, if the patient experiences pain during the procedure, they should let the dentist know immediately.

Surgical Extraction

Depending on the case, an incision and opening of the gums may be necessary to remove a tooth. This surgical procedure is indicated if the wisdom tooth is impacted, if the tooth is impossible to be removed in one piece, or to avoid injury to the nearby oral structures. It involves extracting the tooth in sections.

Once the incision has been made and the tooth removed, the area is then stitched closed. Recovery time after having a tooth surgically removed typically takes a few days. Pain and swelling are common following the extraction but should subside within a week. In rare cases, some patients may also experience some numbness in their lips and tongue, which should resolve within a few months.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Removed?

Some wisdom teeth that erupt normally, need not be removed. Also, if it is impacted but not causing any problems, some dentists do not recommend their removal. However, most of the time, wisdom teeth that have become impacted or haven’t fully broken through the surface of the gum can cause dental problems. For instance, food and bacteria can get stuck around the wisdom teeth’s edge, triggering plaque build-up. Also, some impacted teeth that fail to erupt may cause cyst formation requiring its removal.

Signs Of An Impacted Wisdom Tooth

Sometimes an impacted wisdom tooth may not cause any symptoms until it becomes infected or has damaged adjacent teeth. Yet, common signs or symptoms may include the following:

  • Severe or mild jaw pain that seems to radiate across your face.
  • Occasional sharp pain.
  • Tenderness of the gums.
  • Redness or bleeding gums.
  • Unpleasant taste or bad breath.
  • Difficulty opening your mouth.
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Swelling in the back part of your jaw.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to see a dentist. They can take an X-ray to confirm if Wisdom teeth are the cause of your discomfort and recommend treatment options. In some cases, wisdom teeth can be left alone if they are not causing problems. However, if they’re positioned abnormally or are causing crowding in the mouth, they may need to be removed surgically.

Possible Complications Of Wisdom Teeth

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  • Infection And Tooth Decay.
    Partially impacted wisdom teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay or cavities. It is because of gum flaps which causes difficulty in cleaning the area between the teeth and gums. When this happens, food and bacteria can get trapped, which increases the risk of infection.

  • Lesions (Abnormal Looking Tissue).
    Since the impacted wisdom tooth is unable to break through the gums, the pressure for its development can harm the soft tissues.

  • Tooth Decay Or Damage To Nearby Teeth.
    An impacted wisdom tooth can push against the second molar, which can increase the risk of infection in that area and damage the tooth roots of nearby teeth. The pressure of emerging wisdom teeth may also cause other dental problems such as crowding.

  • Gum Disease.
    Difficulty in cleaning the gum area surrounding the partially erupted wisdom tooth can adversely affect your oral health. Such problems increase the risk of developing an inflammation of the gums called gingivitis. And when Left untreated, this can lead to a more severe gum disease.

If you experience any of these complications, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Unaddressed, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to serious dental problems, including damage to adjacent teeth and bone loss. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth may also cause cysts to form in the jaw. Hence, if you think you may have an impacted wisdom tooth, don’t wait to get it checked out.

Final Thoughts

The presence of these third molars often causes discomfort, particularly if there is insufficient space for them to grow, causing them to develop in an awkward position underneath the gums. Watching out for signs that your wisdom teeth are coming in can help you prevent future problems, including infection, decay, gum disease, and damage to other teeth.

That’s why understanding the causes, signs and symptoms and knowing the possible treatment options for wisdom teeth can be essential for your oral health and avoid the need to undergo more invasive dental procedures.

We hope this information helps you make informed decisions about your dental health care. If you’re considering wisdom tooth removal, our dental professionals at Peel Dental Studio are willing to help you. Give us a call today at 08 9535 4900.

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Peel Dental Studio


Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.