As your wisdom teeth surface in the very back of your jaw, it’s common to experience sensitivity and discomfort, along with some tenderness near the area.
Seek help from your care team if you experience the following:
Extreme swelling around your gums
Intense pain, which could signal an infection or cyst that could damage your surrounding teeth
Sharp pain, which could be a cavity that has reached the nerve
In many cases your dentist will recommend removing your wisdom teeth to treat these issues.
An impacted wisdom tooth is one that doesn’t emerge properly. It may push up against a neighboring tooth or stay stuck under the gums. Impacted teeth can lead to problems like crowding, cavities, gum infection and cysts. Left untreated, these conditions can cause damage to your teeth and jaw, lead to unbearable wisdom teeth pain and, in some cases, cause serious health problems.
If your wisdom teeth don’t come in properly, you can find it difficult to floss between your molars and wisdom teeth. Food can become trapped, giving bacteria a place to grow. This bacteria eats away at the tooth and can cause a cavity, or hole, in your tooth. The cavity can cause pain, especially when chewing.
Sometimes there isn’t enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth, so they only partially emerge. Genetics may play a role here, since your genes determine both tooth and jaw size. Unfortunately, partially emerged teeth can allow bacteria to enter the gums and cause an infection. With an infection, you may feel pain, swelling and stiffness in your jaw.
Sometimes a cyst or abscess will form by or near an impacted wisdom tooth. Both require treatment, but an abscess, or pus-filled pocket caused by bacteria, requires immediate care. An abscess can cause extreme wisdom tooth pain and can lead to a serious, even life-threatening illness if the infection spreads.
Whether your wisdom teeth are coming in correctly or you’re experiencing complications, you’re likely to experience at least some discomfort. Here’s how you can find some relief at home:
Salt water: Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can reduce inflammation and ease your wisdom tooth pain. For a homemade solution, mix half a teaspoon of table salt with a cup of warm water.
Ice: Apply an icepack or ice wrapped in a towel to the side of the face with the painful wisdom tooth. Apply for 10 to 20 minutes every one to two hours as needed.
Over-the-counter pain relievers: An over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen might dull your wisdom tooth pain. Remember to take medication only as directed.
Your Aspen Dental care team may recommend removing your wisdom teeth to treat the cause of your pain or prevent future issues. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure and can safeguard your oral health when your wisdom teeth fail to grow in properly. We will be with you throughout every step of your care to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.