Wisdom Tooth Pain – Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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Toothache happens for several reasons, but if you find that the pain seems to originate from the molar section of your jaw, it’s likely to be wisdom tooth pain. The thing is, this pain typically happens during the adult stage as wisdom teeth erupt anywhere between 17 and 25 years of age.

When your wisdom teeth erupt, there’s a high chance that they can get infected or cause you some pesky wisdom tooth pain. There are a lot of factors affecting the growth of your wisdom teeth, and this article will detail them, and help you decide when to get a wisdom tooth removal.

impacted wisdom tooth pain

What Is Wisdom Tooth Pain?

This is a pain that results from the aftereffects of an impacted wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located on both the top and bottom parts of your mouth. A wisdom tooth becomes impacted when it doesn’t erupt or is partially erupted.

Most adults do not have enough space for their wisdom teeth to grow, so they either do not erupt, erupt partially, push against the second molar, or erupt at a right angle to the adjacent tooth. This abnormal way of growing is what results in wisdom tooth pain, in most cases.

Wisdom Tooth Pain Symptoms

As with most medical conditions, wisdom tooth pain is usually accompanied by symptoms that point to whether or not the pain originates from the wisdom teeth. However, wisdom teeth can also erupt and stay there without showing any symptoms.

Here are some of the symptoms that indicate toothache may be coming from the wisdom tooth.

  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling in the jaw area
  • Swollen or bloody gums
  • Tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

When to See a Doctor

It may be a bit difficult to determine the cause of your tooth pain at home, so you should see a dentist or a doctor immediately if you notice any pain. The dentist will determine if you are truly experiencing wisdom tooth pain and what the next steps are to take.

Just make sure you call in to book an appointment at the dental clinic as soon as possible for a proper examination.

Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain

The majority of the causes of wisdom tooth pain are related to how the tooth grew and erupted. This leads to some conditions in your mouth that can be very painful and uncomfortable.

As previously mentioned, wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. They are usually four in number; two at the upper part of your mouth and two beneath. Since the space available for your wisdom teeth is typically limited, they become trapped, which leads to an impacted wisdom tooth.

A good number of people may experience zero problems with their wisdom teeth. Ideally, the wisdom tooth grows normally and fully erupts with no trouble whatsoever. If you think you are not one of those people, here are some of the reasons you are experiencing pain in your wisdom teeth

  • Your wisdom tooth partially erupted, leaving only the crown of your third molar visible.
  • The tooth is pulling on or affecting some cheek nerves due to its position.
  • It grew at an angle to your second molar.
  • Your wisdom tooth grew at an angle to the back of your mouth.
  • Your wisdom tooth did not erupt but grew at a right angle underneath your gum.

Medical Treatments


This is an over-the-counter pain reliever that helps to alleviate the pain caused by your wisdom tooth. It is typically found in pharmacy stores by its generic name, but can as well be bought by its brand name.

It is important to note that taking too much acetaminophen can cause damage to the liver, such as liver toxicity and gastrointestinal problems. So, it should only be taken as prescribed by the doctor.


Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles into the body to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanism. A study showed that acupuncture relieved pain to a good extent in patients waiting to receive emergency dental care. 

Numbing Gel

Numbing gels are available over the counter or online and, as the name implies, may help to numb your wisdom tooth pain. These gels contain the active ingredient benzocaine.

These gels are typically applied directly to the affected area, but you must refer to the instructions on the product before use. 


The active ingredient in numbing gels, benzocaine, is a numbing agent and anesthetic in itself. It is usually found in over-the-counter products under brand names such as Anbesol.

People with deep wounds, lesions or children under two years of age are not advised to use benzocaine. It is possible to be allergic to benzocaine, and older adults are susceptible to a hypersensitivity reaction to it.


This over-the-counter medication is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can relieve toothaches.

It is known for its pain-relieving properties and is commonly sold in its generic form under brand names like Advil. It works to reduce the inflammation at the site, thus helping with the pain you may be experiencing from your wisdom teeth.


An impacted wisdom tooth can cause complications that contribute to the pain you may be experiencing.

  • Tooth Decay: The angle at which your wisdom tooth erupts can make it hard for your toothbrush and floss to get there. So there is an increased chance of bacteria building up that can cause cavities and even result in decay of the teeth.
  • Damage to other teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth that push against your second molar may increase the risk of infection in that area. It may also cause overcrowding that causes some teeth to appear crooked, which may call for orthodontic treatment to straighten out the teeth.
  • Cyst: A partially erupted wisdom tooth may develop a sac within your jawbone which can be filled with fluid. If that happens, it can cause damage to your teeth, jawbone, and nerves. In rare cases, this cyst develops into a tumour (in most cases, benign). This complication may call for the removal of the bone and tissue.
  • Pericoronitis: With an impacted partially erupted wisdom tooth, the risk of developing painful inflammatory gum disease, pericoronitis, in that area increases drastically.


wisdom tooth removal

How To Get Relief From Wisdom Tooth Pain

When you book an appointment, likely, the dentist can not get you for a wisdom tooth removal immediately. If that is the case, you may need to carry out some remedies at home that give you relief.

  • Ice Pack: You can place an ice pack on your jaw area around the wisdom teeth. This will help by numbing the pain and giving you some much-needed relief. Alternatively, you can swirl ice-cold water around your mouth for more direct contact.
  • Saltwater Rinse: It has been shown that saltwater can aid the killing of bacteria in your teeth, So, occasionally rinsing your mouth with saltwater will ensure the cleanliness of your wisdom teeth, thereby alleviating the pain.
  • Teabags: Tannins in teabags have been shown to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. So to avail of this, keep freshly made tea in the fridge with the teabag then take it out and place the teabag in your mouth where the pain is located.
  • Clove oil: The active ingredient in cloves, eugenol, has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties, so it can be a good remedy for wisdom tooth pain at home. Simply place the clove on your wisdom tooth without chewing it or use cotton wool to apply the oil to the area.



How Do You Make Wisdom Teeth Pain Go Away?

You can try some at-home remedies like using cloves or an ice pack. However, a dentist will proffer the best solution to the pain.

How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Pain Last?

There is no specific time frame for wisdom teeth pain as it varies from person to person. However, you can experience the pain in short intervals in a come-and-go fashion.

Can Wisdom Tooth Pain Go Away On Its Own?

There is a possibility of wisdom tooth pain coming and going at regular intervals. Just be sure to book a dental appointment as soon as you notice any pain.

What Triggers Wisdom Tooth Pain?

Wisdom tooth pain will occur depending on whether or not it is impacted. The causes range from partial eruption to an unwanted effect on your cheek nerves.

Is It Necessary to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

In many cases, the dentist will recommend a tooth extraction. However, if the wisdom tooth is asymptomatic, there may be no need to remove it.

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