Wisdom Teeth Pain Symptoms
Wisdom Tooth Pain Symptoms
Wisdom teeth are any of the four ‘third’ molars – the large teeth at the back of your mouth, on both sides of both top and bottom jaws. They tend to come through later than your other secondary teeth, generally in the late teens or early twenties – hence the term ‘wisdom teeth’, because they were thought to come through when people were older and wiser. (Other languages call them ‘teeth of maturity’, ‘teeth of judgement’, and so on.)Wisdom teeth are less predictable than other teeth. In around a third of people they don’t come through at all, and when they do they are disproportionately subject to various problems, which can be extremely painful and require dental extraction or other treatment. Neighboring teeth – previously settled and causing no problems – are often affected by emerging wisdom teeth. Pain symptoms are diverse and can be significant, depending on the nature and severity of the problems they cause.
Wisdom teeth pain symptoms
|Impacted wisdom tooth|
Some of the most common pain symptoms of problematic wisdom teeth include:
- tenderness and swelling of the gums, which appear red
- difficulty opening the jaw
- a bad taste or odor, caused by discharge from the gum
- pain when swallowing
- more general pain, which can spread across the entire jaw and down the neck
|Partially erupted tooth|
These are often a sign of periconitis – an infection common in the case of impacted wisdom teeth. ‘Impacted’ or ‘partially erupted’ wisdom teeth (that is, teeth that grow sideways or have only partially emerged from the gum) are more prone to decay and gum disease, because the gaps between and around the teeth are hard to clean and allow bacteria to enter the gum. These bacteria can have broader effects than on your mouth alone, causing more general illness and infection.
In addition, you may have problems caused by your wisdom teeth pushing against other teeth or angled in such a way that they damage the cheek or gum:
- toothache in neighboring teeth
Erupting (emerging) wisdom teeth
The throbbing pain of an erupting (emerging) wisdom tooth can be soothed by rinsing with warm salt water. More serious pain can be treated with regular painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin, and with over-the-counter local anesthetic gels. Infections from impacted wisdom teeth may need to be treated with antibiotics, but this and other problems are likely to reoccur until the tooth is removed.
Wisdom teeth treatment and extraction
Note that smoking can irritate already sensitive or damaged gums, making the pain of erupting wisdom teeth worse. It is also best to avoid extreme heat or cold, such as hot drinks or ice, which will aggravate sore nerves rather than calm them.