Pain can be experienced when the wisdom teeth erupt through the gum. This typically happens between the age of 17 and 21 but sometimes wisdom tooth eruption happens until the age of 25. The eruption of the wisdom tooth can cause pain in some cases. Depending on the severity of the pain and how the wisdom teeth are erupting, emergency dental care might be needed.
A dentist should be seen as soon as possible to assess the wisdom tooth, alleviate pain and treat any issues so that the possibility of wisdom tooth infection is averted.
Common causes of wisdom tooth pain are an impacted wisdom tooth or a wisdom tooth infection. The cause can vary from not enough space in the jaw, cracked tooth, or food trapped underneath a gum flap. Regardless of the cause, pain related to wisdom teeth should be treated immediately because it can cause a lot of discomfort and impact your overall dental health.
Wisdom tooth pain can be sudden but sometimes it can develop slowly and gradually. It is important to consult with a dentist if you think you are experiencing wisdom tooth pain. Your dentist can take X-rays, examine the cause of the pain and advise on the appropriate treatment.
If you experience any of these common symptoms or any wisdom tooth pain, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible:
- Pain or a stiff jaw near an impacted tooth..
- Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing against your cheek, tongue, or top or bottom of your mouth.
- An infected swelling in the flap of gum tissue that has formed on top of an impacted tooth that has partially erupted.
- Crowding of other teeth
- Tooth decay or gum disease if there isn’t enough room to properly clean your wisdom tooth and nearby teeth.
When the wisdom tooth develops and erupts pressure might be applied to the other teeth and gum tissue. The wisdom tooth can also grow in different directions. The pressure on the gum tissue or bone causes pain.
Gum inflammation can develop around impacted wisdom teeth and cause pain. Infection can develop and neighboring teeth may become misaligned, protrude or crooked.
In some cases, wisdom teeth extraction is necessary to prevent further spread of infection and teeth misalignment. Tooth extraction can be followed by additional treatment that would ensure straighter teeth and a better-aligned bite. It a wisdom tooth extraction is recommended for treating an impacted wisdom tooth and not followed through, infection and tooth decay can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
During the development of wisdom teeth, it is a good idea to have them monitored by a dentist. Doing so allows early detection of wisdom tooth conditions and prevents the likelihood of pain and infection.
Dentists screen wisdom tooth development through dental X-rays and imaging. Bone structure and dental form are evaluated to see the angle at which the wisdom teeth are growing and identify early signs of impaction or risk of infection.
If individuals neglect dental check-ups and dental care they can find their chances of impaction and/or infection to be higher. Poor dental hygiene also contributes to wisdom teeth infection, particularly as these teeth are located at inconvenient areas at the back of the jaw, which are often neglected during teeth brushing or flossing.
When the infection has an impact on gum tissue or the wisdom tooth socket, pain can be felt through the jaw and this may cause headaches and fever. An abscess or cyst can also form and lead to the need for emergency dental treatment.
If treatment is not undertaken the infection may lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Jaw disorders can also develop which could require extensive orthodontic treatment or surgery. Early treatment removes the infection, stops pain and prevents further development of the condition.
If you are experiencing wisdom teeth pain you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. However, there are some things that you can do to reduce wisdom tooth pain:
- Ice can help to numb the area if it is applied carefully in the area where there is pain
- Ibuprofen can also help to reduce pain
- Salt water mouth rinse can also be effective. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of salt into a cup of warm water and rinse around your mouth. This can help to dislodge pieces of food that are trapped in and around your teeth and gums.
Ensure that you clean your teeth properly as trapped food can increase the pain from the wisdom tooth and also increase your chance of developing an infection.
To prevent serious dental and medical complications you should contact an emergency dentist to remove any infections related to wisdom teeth.
Our dentists can determine the cause and the spread of infection, find if there is a cyst or abscess and assess if the wisdom tooth is impacted. Your dentist can provide the necessary treatment and recommend wisdom tooth extraction if needed.
The monitoring of wisdom teeth development by a dentist can help identify early infection and prevent painful symptoms. Treatment can be provided to remove the start of infection. In some cases, leaving the wisdom tooth to naturally develop is an option, but it is best to follow your dentist’s recommendations.
For partially erupted wisdom teeth, sometimes cutting and removing the gum covering the wisdom tooth can offer pain relief and help treat an infection.
A wisdom tooth may be removed in a dental surgery by a dentist or in a hospital by a dental surgeon. A local anaesthetic will be injected into the affected area to numb the pain. The practitioner will apply pressure to the tooth to loosen it from its socket.
The procedure is a short one that normally takes only a few minutes but can last up to 20 minutes and sometimes more.
The gum is normally only sore from the time until the anaesthetic wears off until around three days later, but the pain sometimes lasts for two weeks. Your dentist might recommend a particular mouthwash, over-the-counter pain-killers or prescribe antibiotics.
Usually, wisdom teeth removal is not necessary when the wisdom teeth are healthy, fully erupted, can be cleaned easily, they are in a normal position and do not impact other teeth.
However, wisdom teeth extraction is recommended if:
- The wisdom tooth remains completely hidden underneath the gum. This can cause an infection or a cyst that can cause further issues.
- If the wisdom tooth is partially erupted. This might cause for some food to be trapped underneath the gum, which can attract bacteria and cause infection. Sometimes cutting the gum covering the partially erupted wisdom tooth can relieve pain.
- If the wisdom tooth crowds other teeth. This can cause damage to the other teeth.
Your dentist will be able to advise on the best treatment option for your wisdom teeth.
When your wisdom teeth are coming through, there are practical things you can do to make it less likely that gums become infected. These actions include:
- Practicing good oral hygiene: Brushing teeth twice a day, flossing, and using mouthwash can help reduce the bacteria in the mouth that cause infections.
- Visiting the dentist regularly: Your dentist would be able to monitor your oral health and take preventative actions against dental health issues.
- Visiting dental hygienist regularly: Your dentist will give you a recommendation of how often you should see a dental hygienist. The hygienist thoroughly cleans between your teeth and close to your gums, which can prevent infections and complications.
- Drinking plenty of water: This helps to flush bacteria and food away from the teeth and gums.
- Avoid sugary foods: Sweet foods can get stuck inside the broken gums, encouraging bacteria growth.