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Wisdom Tooth Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

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wisdom tooth pain

Wisdom Tooth Pain: Causes, Symptoms, and Solutions

So, you’ve landed on this page because you or someone you care about is dealing with the distressing challenge of wisdom tooth pain. It can be quite a bothersome ordeal, disrupting your daily life and causing discomfort that seems never-ending.

But fret not! In this blog, we’re here to shed light on the matter, providing you with valuable insights into the causes, symptoms, and, most importantly, practical solutions to alleviate wisdom tooth pain and restore your peace and comfort.

Why does the Wisdom Tooth hurt:

According to American Dental Association, wisdom teeth usually make their debut between 17 to 21 years.

So, you must be wondering, despite being the same age as your friends, you are experiencing wisdom tooth pain while they seem unaffected.

The reasons behind that are as follows:

wisdom tooth  pain

  • Lack of space: Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge in the mouth. Sometimes, due to limited space in the jaw, they may not have enough room to fully erupt or develop properly. These teeth can become trapped beneath the gum line or grow at an angle, pressing against neighboring teeth, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Infection: When the wisdom teeth partially erupt or become impacted, they can create an opening in the gums, allowing bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
    So, whenever you eat something and it gets stuck inside the gums, it will lead to infection around the tooth, which can lead to pain, swelling, redness, and even difficulty in opening the mouth.
  • Tooth decay: Wisdom teeth are particularly vulnerable to tooth decay because they are located at the back of the mouth, making them harder to clean properly. If bacteria and food particles accumulate around the partially erupted wisdom tooth, it can lead to tooth decay and subsequent pain.
    Sometimes when they erupt at a different angle than the rest of the teeth, it will lead to a space between the wisdom tooth and adjacent tooth where food gets accumulated. This will decay the adjacent tooth as well.
  • Opposing Impaction: In cases where the upper wisdom teeth have grown fully out of the gum line, they can come into contact with the gums of the erupting lower molars, a condition known as opposing impaction or opposing eruption. The pressure exerted by the upper wisdom tooth biting onto the gums covering the lower molar can cause pain, inflammation, and soreness in the affected area.
  • Cyst or tumor formation: In some rare cases, a wisdom tooth may develop a cyst or tumor around it. These growths can cause pressure on surrounding teeth and tissues, resulting in pain and discomfort.

Symptoms associated with erupting wisdom tooth:

Signs and symptoms of wisdom tooth pain can vary depending on the underlying cause. Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with wisdom tooth pain:


  • Pain and discomfort: It often manifests as a persistent, throbbing, or sharp pain in the back of the mouth where the wisdom tooth is located. The intensity of the pain can vary from mild to severe, and it may worsen with biting, chewing, or applying pressure on the affected area.


  • Swelling and redness: Inflammation of the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can result in localized swelling and redness. The affected area may appear puffy and tender to the touch.


  • Jaw stiffness: Wisdom tooth pain can cause jaw stiffness and limited movement, making it difficult to open the mouth fully or chew properly.


  • Headaches and earaches: Pain from impacted or infected wisdom teeth can radiate to the surrounding areas, leading to headaches, earaches, or pain in the neck and jaw muscles.


  • Bad breath or unpleasant taste: When wisdom teeth are partially erupted or impacted, they can create pockets where food particles and bacteria can accumulate. This can lead to persistent bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth.


  • Gum bleeding: In some cases, wisdom tooth pain may be accompanied by bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing. This can be a sign of gum inflammation or infection.

Solutions for wisdom tooth pain:

The appropriate treatment for wisdom tooth pain depends on the underlying cause and the specific condition of the affected tooth. Here are some common treatment options:


  • Observation: If the wisdom teeth are healthy, fully erupted, properly aligned, and not causing any pain or issues, they may not require immediate treatment. Regular monitoring and good oral hygiene practices, including thorough brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups, may be sufficient.If your dentist determines during observation that there is enough space available and the wisdom tooth has the potential to come into the correct position without causing any complications, then also they may recommend a period of observation.


  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help manage mild to moderate wisdom tooth pain. Topical oral gels or rinses containing benzocaine may also provide temporary relief from gum discomfort. However, these medications offer temporary relief and do not address the underlying cause of the pain.


  • Dental Extraction: Tooth pulling, also known as extraction, is a common treatment for problematic wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth are impacted, causing pain, infection, or other oral health issues, your dentist may recommend extraction. The procedure involves numbing the area with a local anesthetic, removing the tooth through a surgical process, and may require stitches for wound closure.To learn the dos and don’ts after tooth extraction, Read This.
  • Antibiotics: If there is an infection associated with the wisdom tooth, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to control the infection before or after the extraction. Antibiotics are used to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection and reduce inflammation.


  • Other Interventions: In some cases, alternative treatment options may be considered. For example, if the wisdom tooth is partially erupted and causing recurring infections, a procedure called “wisdom tooth crown lengthening” may be performed to expose more of the tooth’s surface, making it easier to clean and maintain.


It’s important to consult with a dental professional for a proper diagnosis and to discuss the best treatment options based on your specific situation. They will evaluate the condition of your wisdom teeth, consider factors such as the level of impaction, presence of infection, and overall oral health, and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan to alleviate the pain and prevent further complications.



  • Will I lose my wisdom if I have my wisdom tooth removed?Ans: These teeth are called “wisdom teeth” due to their association with this stage of life (17-21 years) when individuals are believed to be maturing and gaining wisdom.There is no scientific evidence to support any connection between wisdom tooth removal and intelligence.
  • Are there any home remedies to alleviate wisdom tooth pain?
    Ans: Yes, for the time being, you can do warm saline rinses if you have swelling.In case you experience jaw stiffness: apply moist warm heat on the outside of the face in front of your ear. (This is the place where the jaw joint is located). This will help to relax the muscles and provide relief.Note that it is important to go to the dentist when you experience pain in your tooth.


  • Why do I need to get an X-ray done for my wisdom tooth pain?

    : This is to determine its position in the jaw bone. Whether to see it will come out on its own, it is getting decayed, or other such complications.


Need to get your wisdom tooth removed in Modesto?

Call us now for an appointment at (209) 548-0100, or come by our clinic at Paragon Dental, 1108 Oakdale Road, Suite A, Modesto, California 95355, to get the dental care that you need.


At Paragon Dental, we strive to provide high-quality dental care to our patients. If you’re experiencing any dental issues, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us.


Contact us today to book your appointment and take the first step towards a healthier smile.

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