Coping with Wisdom Tooth Growing Pain: Causes and Tips

May 11, 2024 | 2 min read

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Coping with the discomfort associated with wisdom tooth growing pain is a common challenge for many. Wisdom teeth, the final set of molars to emerge, usually appear between the ages of 17 and 26, according to the Mayo Clinic

Understanding the causes of this pain, its potential duration, and exploring effective relief methods are crucial for managing the discomfort. 

Causes of Wisdom Tooth Growing Pain

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge, typically appearing in late adolescence or early adulthood. Their growth can often lead to discomfort and pain, primarily because they struggle to find enough space in the mouth to properly emerge.

Several factors contribute to the pain associated with wisdom tooth growth:

  • Impaction: This occurs when a wisdom tooth is unable to fully emerge through the gum line due to lack of space, causing it to grow at an angle or even horizontally.
  • Overcrowding: As wisdom teeth emerge, they can push against other teeth, causing misalignment and pain in both the emerging tooth and adjacent teeth.
  • Infection: Partially erupted wisdom teeth can create openings in the gums that become breeding grounds for bacteria, leading to painful infections and gum disease.
  • Cyst Formation: Occasionally, a fluid-filled sac may develop around the unerupted wisdom tooth, putting pressure on the jawbone and surrounding nerves.

How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Growing Pain Last?

The duration of a wisdom tooth growing pain can vary widely. Typically, the pain persists for the period during which the tooth is actively pushing through the gums. This phase generally lasts from a few days up to several weeks

However, if the wisdom tooth is impacted—meaning it is trapped beneath the gum or growing at an awkward angle—or if there is an infection, the pain may continue until these issues are addressed by a dental professional.

The duration of pain can be influenced by several factors:

  • Degree of Impaction: More severely impacted teeth generally cause pain for a longer period due to the increased difficulty in eruption.
  • Personal Pain Threshold: Individuals' tolerance to pain varies, which can affect their perception of how long the pain lasts.
  • Dental Hygiene and Care: Regular dental care and good hygiene can help manage symptoms and potentially reduce the duration of pain.
  • Prompt Treatment: Seeking dental advice and treatment promptly can alleviate pain quicker, especially in cases of infection or severe impaction.

Wisdom Tooth Growing Pain Relief

Several techniques and home remedies can help manage wisdom tooth pain without the use of medications:

  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to the outside of the cheek can help reduce swelling and numb the pain.
  • Salt Water Rinse: Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water several times a day can help reduce inflammation and kill bacteria around the affected area.
  • Clove Oil: Applying clove oil, a natural analgesic, directly to the sore tooth or gums can alleviate pain.
  • Soft Foods: Eating soft foods can prevent further irritation of the gums and help reduce pain.
  • Proper Oral Hygiene: Keeping the mouth clean by regular brushing and flossing can help prevent infections that might exacerbate the pain.

When non-medication techniques are insufficient for managing wisdom tooth growing pain, over-the-counter pain relievers can be considered:

  • Acetaminophen-Based Pain Relievers: These are generally recommended for mild to moderate pain and can help ease discomfort.
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): These help not only in reducing pain but also in minimizing inflammation around the affected area.

Additionally, topical oral analgesic gels can also be effective. These gels can be applied directly to the gums surrounding the wisdom tooth. They contain ingredients that numb the area, providing temporary relief from pain and discomfort.

It is important to consult a dental professional if certain symptoms accompany the pain:

  • Persistent Pain: If the pain does not subside with home treatments or worsens over several days, it might indicate an underlying problem that requires professional attention.
  • Signs of Infection: Symptoms such as severe pain, swelling, redness, or pus discharge from around the wisdom tooth area need immediate dental evaluation.
  • Difficulty Opening the Jaw: This could signify a more severe issue, such as an infection or cyst that a dentist needs to assess.
  • Fever: A fever combined with dental pain suggests an infection that could be spreading and requires urgent treatment.
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