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Understand Wisdom Tooth Pain Symptoms: How To Treat Them?


Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to erupt in the mouth typically between the ages of 17 to 25 years. They are located at the very back of the mouth next to the second molars. Wisdom teeth often do not have enough room to erupt properly and can become impacted, meaning they are stuck below the gums and unable to fully emerge.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth and bone. Understanding the symptoms of wisdom tooth pain can help determine if your wisdom teeth are impacted and need to be removed.

Understanding Wisdom Tooth Pain 

Wisdom tooth pain occurs when the wisdom teeth are impacted or have erupted partially. As wisdom teeth try to push through the gums, they can put pressure on the surrounding teeth, nerves, bone, and tissue. This can cause inflammation, infection, and pain.

Wisdom Tooth Pain Symptoms

The intensity of wisdom tooth pain can range from mild discomfort to severe throbbing pain. The location of the pain depends on which wisdom tooth is impacted. The lower wisdom teeth are more prone to problems compared to the upper wisdom teeth.

Symptoms Of Wisdom Tooth Pain

Some common symptoms of wisdom tooth pain include:

  • Pain in the jaw, ear, or teeth – The pain may be dull, sharp, or throbbing in nature. It can radiate to the ear, jaw, and side of the face.
  • Swelling around the jaw – Swelling occurs as the wisdom tooth pushes through the gums. The swelling may feel tender and painful. 
  • Redness or inflammation in the gums – Red, swollen, or inflamed gums indicate an infection or abscess near the wisdom tooth.
  • Headache – Jaw pain from wisdom teeth can radiate and cause headaches.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth – Pain and inflammation can make it difficult to open the mouth fully. 
  • Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth – Food trapped around a wisdom tooth along with infection can cause a bad odor or taste.
  • Pain or irritation from the opposing tooth – An erupted wisdom tooth may bite or rub against the tooth in the opposing arch.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting – Chewing may worsen the pain and discomfort.
  • Lymph node swelling – Swollen lymph nodes in the neck indicate the infection from the wisdom teeth has spread.
  • Fever – Fever often accompanies a wisdom tooth infection.

How To Treat Wisdom Tooth Pain?

If you are experiencing any symptoms of wisdom tooth pain, see your dentist promptly. Leaving an impacted wisdom tooth untreated can allow the problem to worsen and spread. Here are some temporary and long-term treatment options:

Temporary Treatment:

  • Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen can help relieve mild pain.
  • Using warm salt water rinses and ice packs on the outside of your cheek can alleviate swelling and discomfort.
  • Your dentist may prescribe a stronger medication or antibiotic to control a wisdom tooth infection. 

Permanent Treatment:

  • Wisdom tooth extraction – Removing the problematic wisdom teeth is the definitive treatment to get rid of the pain and prevent future problems. The dentist will numb the area before extracting the tooth.
  • Root canal treatment – If the wisdom tooth is only partially impacted and causing decay or infection of the neighboring tooth, a root canal of the adjacent tooth may be done instead of extraction.
  • Dental splint – Wearing a splint protects the teeth from further damage if the wisdom teeth cannot be immediately extracted.

Also Check: Kidney Stones Prevention : Proven Ways To Prevent Painful Kidney Stones


Wisdom teeth often remain asymptomatic if they erupt completely and there is enough room in the mouth. However, impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth commonly cause pain and swelling. Typical wisdom tooth pain symptoms involve pain in the jaw, ear, or teeth, inflamed gums, headaches, bad breath, and difficulty chewing.

To alleviate wisdom tooth pain, over-the-counter pain medication, warm salt water rinses, and ice packs can provide temporary relief. Consulting a dentist promptly is important, as extraction is frequently needed to resolve the problem entirely and prevent complications like infections. Catching wisdom tooth pain early and getting the appropriate treatment leads to a good outcome.


1. At what age does wisdom tooth pain occur?

Wisdom tooth pain most commonly occurs between ages 17-25 as this is when the wisdom teeth are erupting. However, it can happen at any age if the wisdom teeth become impacted or develop problems.

2. What side is a wisdom tooth pain usually on?

Wisdom tooth pain can occur on either side of the mouth, upper or lower, depending on which wisdom tooth is affected. Most often it is the lower wisdom teeth that become problematic and painful.

3. When should I see a dentist for wisdom tooth pain? 

See your dentist as soon as you notice any symptoms of wisdom tooth pain like swelling, severe pain, infection, headaches, difficulty opening your mouth, or biting. Leaving wisdom tooth pain unchecked allows the problem to worsen over time.

4. Can wisdom tooth pain come and go?

Yes, wisdom tooth pain may be intermittent, coming and going as the wisdom teeth try to erupt through the gums. The pain can range from mild to intense during this process.

5. Is wisdom tooth pain an emergency?

Severe, unbearable wisdom tooth pain, along with swelling of the face or neck indicates an emergency situation. Infection that spreads or pus formation is an emergency needing urgent dental care. Otherwise, while uncomfortable, mild to moderate wisdom tooth pain can wait to be seen by a dentist within a few days.

Dr. Harold Gojiberry is not just your ordinary General Practitioner; he is a compassionate healthcare provider with a deep commitment to patient well-being and a passion for literature. With extensive medical knowledge and experience, Dr. Gojiberry has made a significant impact in the field of healthcare, particularly in the area of liver diseases and viral hepatitis.

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