What Is Wisdom Tooth Pain, and How Should It Be Treated

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Whatever pain we have makes us go searching for information on it. But unfortunately, wisdom tooth pain doesn’t create that much of a different scenario when it comes to pain and aching.

It can all start with an aching jaw. If where the pain is centered can’t be located, but it feels like a specific tooth, or maybe even teeth, is the cause of it, then the answer could be adult teeth (wisdom teeth) or third molars.

The initial, mild discomfort can gradually increase to a point where it turns into throbbing wisdom-tooth pain. In that instance, it may be time to do in-depth research about the pain and what one can do to find relief.

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In this article, we will provide insight to those who are looking for helpful information on the following:

  • What adult teeth are
  • What causes adult tooth pain?
  • At-home treatment options to bring relief
  • If the only option is to get one’s adult tooth removed
  • Why and how impacted adult teeth can create further discomfort when left untreated and not removed

This article provides detailed guidance on the subject and its subtopics.

What Is A Wisdom Tooth?

Wisdom teeth, or adult teeth, develop last in the back of the mouth. Typically, adult teeth develop in the jawbone and break through the gums when they grow. Although most people do, some never develop adult teeth at any point in their lives.

Adult teeth usually come out around 17 and 25, but some people can grow them later. As these teeth aren’t vital for dental health or the symmetry of the overall dental structure, making the decision and removing them improves your quality of life. The removal procedure is standard, but in rare cases, the adult tooth stays embedded in the jawbone, otherwise known as “impacted wisdom teeth.”

If there is sufficient space in the mouth for adult teeth to grow without causing pain to the patient, and if the adult teeth emerge and grow straight, the patient can move on with their lives without pain. But for those with narrower mouth spaces and dental structures that don’t leave room for adult teeth development, this case turns into the cause of substantial amounts of pain and inflammation, called “Pericoronitis.” This condition might need medical and professional care as the pain can be unendurable if left untreated.

What Is Pericoronitis, and How Can It Be Treated?

Pericoronitis is swelling or inflammation of the gum tissue. It is usually seen in people in their teens or 20s around their adult teeth. In cases of Pericoronitis, the lower third molars become affected more than the upper ones. It can cause infection, fever, and loss of appetite. Since it’s a severe discomfort caused by developing adult teeth in a narrow mouth space that creates dental asymmetry, Pericoronitis can only be treated by medical professionals.

Who Treats Pericoronitis?

Since there are varying treatment options to recover from Pericoronitis, it is a condition that is treated by a dentist or one of the following professionals:

  • Endodontist.
  • Prosthodontist.
  • Periodontist.
  • Oral surgeon.
  • A periodontist or pediatric dentist.

Treatment can come in different forms. Depending on what your dentist sees fit and required for recovery, they will treat the following:

  • Oral rinses or irrigators.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Pain medicine.
  • Tooth/teeth extraction.
  • Minor surgery for operculum removal.

An examination will be required beforehand, and the patient will be given the most suitable options.

How to Understand if You Have Impacted Wisdom Teeth

If one’s teeth in the back have filled up the space of their mouth and don’t have any room to grow, the extra tooth that grows can develop with the wrong angle and bump into the teeth that grew before it did. It’s not that common for adult teeth to grow normally. So, when an adult tooth doesn’t grow without trying to disrupt one’s already established dental structure and can only break through their gums partly, you will develop adult teeth that are impacted.

To make sure what is in hand is impacted adult teeth so you can get the proper treatment and end your pain, the best thing you can do is to see a dentist (which can include cosmetic dentistry) or get an X-ray check from an oral surgeon. This way, they will get accurate information on what they have and be directed in the best way possible to go through the proper treatment.

Why Wisdom Tooth Removal Might Be Necessary

You can experience extra problems and discomfort if you don’t get your wisdom teeth removed. In addition, if bacteria or food gets stuck around the adult teeth, it might cause plaque build-up, which will advance further and cause many other problems. These may be listed as:

  • Cellulitis.
  • Abscess.
  • Gum disease.
  • Benign growths and cysts.
  • Tooth decay.

In most cases, wisdom teeth extraction would be advised to protect and treat the patient before their pain becomes severe, primarily if other treatment options haven’t provided them with any recovery. As adult teeth are not crucial to oral health, extraction won’t lower your quality of life and isn’t a procedure worth the worry.

Reasons for Wisdom Tooth Pain

Removal of wisdom teeth is always the quickest option to eliminate the never-ending hassle that starts with developing a wisdom tooth. It is the best way to go. But when one is at the deciding stage to get theirs removed and would like to know what it is that makes the adult teeth cause any pain, here is a highlight to help out:

Not all experiences developing an adult tooth are pain-free, and sometimes only the tip can break through gums. This is called “partial impaction.” Unfortunately, some people aren’t lucky enough to have this happen, and their adult teeth stay ingrown. When this happens, you have to endure extreme pain when talking or eating.

As adult teeth develop much after the majority of the teeth are grown and a dental structure is set, sometimes the growth of an adult tooth can cause misalignment, and the tooth can grow crooked rather than perfectly straight. In addition, it will cause the mouth to be overly crowded and push other molars to settle into their own space, which they forcefully try to open up in a mouth that has already formed its structure. This will create disorientation for the rest of the teeth and increase the chances of getting oral infections.

If you don’t have the necessary space in their mouth to grow adult teeth without discomfort, the teeth that grow with crooks will push their other teeth, which will end up causing inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the affected area. This can end up causing them to develop a disease in the gums, jaw pain, lockjaw, bad breath, and pus. It can also cause the person to feel pain in their mouth or to have difficulty and pain when swallowing.

Looking at all of these possible scenarios that will come with untreated wisdom tooth pain, it will be much better to see medical professionals before the condition exacerbates and adds other conditions.

Wisdom Tooth Pain Symptoms

Intense pain in the jaw or the back of the mouth might be wisdom-tooth pain. Wisdom teeth form in the back of the lower and upper teeth, creating a sensation like something stiff is trying to crack and come out of a rigid and reserved substance. Indeed, that is how a wisdom tooth emerges, especially when you don’t have enough space to develop healthily. This process can be pretty painful.

Adult teeth usually don’t create any extra pain or discomfort once they have come out and settled, having taken their place after the teeth formed before them. But when in formation, you may experience these symptoms:

  • The pain is felt at the back of the mouth, behind the molars.
  • When examined with a mirror, new teeth can be formed behind the teeth in the back as they will be breaking through the gums.
  • The area might have become dark red and swollen, causing extreme pain when touched with pressure.

In some cases, tooth decay can be mistaken for wisdom-tooth pain. For example, if one sees cut gums creating spaces for new teeth, this can indicate that the source of pain isn’t anything other than a wisdom tooth, but it is best to consult a dentist or oral surgeon to get a more accurate diagnosis.

7 common cures for sudden wisdom tooth pain

Cures for Sudden Wisdom Tooth Pain

Because not everyone can go to a dentist as soon as they have wisdom-tooth pain, a list of tips to help cope with the pain until they can see one can prove highly useful. So, here are our best tips to relieve pain quickly:


Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain-relieving medication found in most households. And even those that do not have it can quickly get a hold of it from their nearest drugstore.

Ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and inflammation when experiencing throbbing pain. It’s not a long-term solution but can be a quick fix for pain relief.

It’s always best to consult a medical professional on the correct dosage and terms of use when deciding to take medication. In addition, you should never hesitate to contact a professional team for help.

Applying Ice to the Impacted Tooth

To help reduce wisdom tooth pain, covering an ice pack with a towel, or filling a small bag with ice and then using it as a compress to hold on top of the area in pain is another great tip. This should be repeated once every few hours for 15-20 minutes. Again, ice will help numb the pain.

Warning: Ice shouldn’t be applied directly or for longer to avoid possible cold-related injuries.

Using Numbing Gels

Over the counter, medical gels whose active ingredient is benzocaine can help numb gums. These gels also generally contain menthol that soothes them and astringents that help treat gum irritation.

These gels can easily be found as there are various options on the market and over the counter.

Salt Water Rinse

Another popular and well-known cure for wisdom-tooth pain is a saltwater rinse. Mixing one or two teaspoons of salt in a glass of warm water and using this as a rinse, especially around the area in pain, will help soothe the wisdom-tooth pain.

Please repeat this as the day progresses. The saltwater will help both clear the possibly accumulated debris and dirt around the wisdom tooth and heal the wound caused by the tooth breaking through the gum.

Clove Buds or Oil

The ingredient eugenol in clove is a numbing agent. It can help reduce wisdom-tooth pain while also reducing inflammation.

To use it as a treatment and to relieve the pain, dipping a cotton ball into some clove oil and placing the soaked cotton ball onto the painful area will be very effective. The wet piece should be held in the area for five to fifteen minutes before the cotton ball is removed and disposed of.

If the oil is highly potent, it’s best to dilute it with some coconut oil. If clove buds are preferred instead, crushing one and placing that onto the aching tooth will be the way to go. The crushed clove should be held in the painful area for five to fifteen minutes and then thrown away.

Whether the oil-soaked cotton ball or the crushed clove bud method is used, the treatment should be repeated whenever needed during the day.

Applying Essential Oils and Vanilla Extract Mix

Mixing various essential oils with vanilla extract can help soothe wisdom-tooth pain. For example, to prepare a mouth rinse, add a few droplets of vanilla extract to a cup of warm water and mix in the essential oils of the following is what is needed:

  • Thyme.
  • Peppermint.
  • Coconut.
  • Lemon.
  • Tea tree.
  • Roman chamomile.
  • Myrrh.

This mixture should be rinsed around the affected area for a minute and then spit out.

You can also create a mixture with less water, like a couple of ounces instead of one cup, and soak a cotton ball to apply it to the area in pain. You should hold the cotton ball on the wound for a minimum of 5 to 15 minutes before being thrown away.

Preparing a Turmeric Paste or Rub

Turmeric is a super-food that has the superpower of providing relief for a whole host of medical conditions. It is supposedly anti-inflammatory and has analgesic properties. These make it one of the best at-home remedies to reach out for when suffering from tooth pain. For turmeric to be used as a short-term treatment for toothache, rubbing its loose form on the gums is highly advised.

To use turmeric as a paste, mixing it with some baking powder and toothpaste is the best way to go. This paste should be rubbed around the third molars and rinsed after letting it sit for a few minutes.


When reaching out to a dentist only to find out that they are fully booked for some time, at-home remedies to relieve wisdom-tooth pain can be helpful. It can be hard to endure wisdom-tooth pain. Still, if the tooth needs to be removed by medical professionals and there is time until they can do so, over-the-counter and generic painkillers, along with the herbal remedies and mouth rinses listed above, may prove quite effective. They are also easily sourced and affordable, quick-fix options, so they won’t create a dent in the budget and won’t need anyone to travel to the other ends of the world to be found.

How Long Does Wisdom-Tooth Pain Last?

Those who have just gotten their wisdom teeth removal should expect the initial intense pain to lessen and completely vanish in up to two weeks. It will help if you focus on your dental care during recovery so that the rest of the teeth are in good condition and don’t pose a threat like breeding bacteria and increasing the risk of having bacterial complications.

Alternatively, if the wisdom tooth grows and breaks through the gum, the patient should wait until the tooth is fully formed. Meanwhile, at-home pain treatment options can be reached, which can be found in this article.

If the wisdom tooth is already grown, but a strange amount of pain is still being experienced, it may be better to see a dentist and check to ensure that what is at hand is an impacted wisdom tooth.

What Happens if Wisdom Teeth Aren’t Removed?

Those who have not experienced painful wisdom-tooth growth, whose wisdom teeth developed adequately, and who have enough room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth to come out without obstructing their surrounding teeth may not experience any issues. They can move on with their life without the need to see a healthcare provider for any dental emergency. However, others going through an entirely different experience that needs medical care should do the opposite.

Wisdom teeth aren’t vital for your health or forming a healthy dental structure. Or for anyone to have a splendid experience with anything their mouth can do. When it causes swelling, inflammation, bleeding, or pain that seems never to go away, dentists will, in most cases, advise getting it removed. To list clearly, here are things one can experience if you choose not to get your wisdom tooth removed:

  • Developing softened tissue surrounding the wisdom tooth.
  • Tumors.
  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs, usually seen in the gum).
  • Severe pain.
  • Extensive tooth decay.
  • Damaging the teeth near the third molars.

To stay clear of all these conditions and not let wisdom-tooth pain take a turn for the worse and exacerbate, leaving one in more tremendous pain than before, contacting a dentist becomes a must. Or better yet, to save an incredible amount of time and hard-earned money, contacting us to get much-needed help can be life-changing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The emergence of a wisdom tooth needs one’s gums to be broken through and the nearby teeth to be pushed to create space for it. The pain of this process comes and goes because it’s a gradual process that isn’t completed in the blink of an eye. This is also because we go through this process at our ages, in which we can feel physical changes the most, as wisdom teeth usually develop in our late teens and 20s. Considering all these, wisdom-tooth pain isn’t consistent but instead draws a non-linear graph.

Wisdom teeth don’t always cause unbearable pain, but when they do, it’s usually because it has erupted into the mouth of the patient.

It can be hard to clean the piece of gum that covers the wisdom tooth, and this can cause further discomfort. In addition, when food and plaque build-up around the adult teeth, one might experience other distress, leading to swelling and inflammation.

Getting a wisdom tooth extracted isn’t the only way to cure wisdom-tooth pain, but it’s the sure way not to have it repeated. Furthermore, it’s the best option to go with in the long term as it won’t make one stay alert or in worry, thinking about the next time their wisdom tooth might create any problem unseen.

Removing a wisdom tooth might be unnecessary for those with a painless experience with their adult teeth development. It will also be discursive for those with no other complications or health issues with the emergence of a wisdom tooth.

However, if that is not the case for one, removing a wisdom tooth can set them free from the pain it causes and will be what is eventually advised by their oral healthcare provider. In addition, this removal procedure is quick; the patient can leave after the dentist or oral surgeon completes it.

In some cases, it does.

Adult teeth develop under the gums, and when they break through them, they force surrounding teeth to move so that there is room for them to come out. This force that tries to rearrange the dental structure can become the source of pain in the jaw and create difficulty when attempting to open and move it.

If there isn’t enough space in the mouth for the adult teeth to grow straight and break through quickly, wisdom teeth pain can become so severe that it can cause further pain and discomfort in organs that surround or are a home to them.

Doctor Alexa Can Help

Sometimes even the most comprehensive blog posts don’t hold the place of one-on-one communication, we know. And as Doctor Alexa, we are here to help.

With a caring and expert team of medical professionals, Doctor Alexa provides you with world-class medical care from the comfort of your home. If online information doesn’t help with a wisdom tooth growing pain or if the problem requires the opinion of a healthcare provider, getting the proper help can be life-changing. With Doctor Alexa, you get access to healthcare services from licensed healthcare professionals remotely.

We provide excellent online healthcare consultation and treatment at the most affordable costs. To learn more about health conditions we can help you with, reach out to us at DoctorAlexa now.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

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