No one wants to go to the dentist. The only times people do go are for routine exams and when they are in pain. That would include wisdom tooth pain. Pain should motivate you to see your dentist right away.

Wisdom teeth typically cause pain because they are impacted

Wisdom teeth typically cause pain because they are impacted. Impacted teeth mean they aren’t growing straight as they should. It’s incredibly common for wisdom teeth to grow out of kilter with other teeth, which is why most dentists recommend removing them as soon as they start erupting.

There are four common ways an impacted wisdom tooth will grow:

At an angle toward the back of the mouth

At an angle leaning toward the next tooth

Growing directly toward the other teeth. This is sometimes say a wisdom tooth is “lying down” because it is lying flat within the jawbone rather than straight up and down.

Growing trapped in the jawbone even though it is straight.

Partially growing or not growing at all, trapped in the jawbone.

Problems with Wisdom Teeth

Some of the reasons why erupting wisdom teeth cause pain is because they trap food and debris. That can lead to gum infection or tooth decay. Wisdom teeth can cause damage to other teeth or the jawbone and that will cause pain.

A cyst could develop around the wisdom tooth and that can cause pain. Pain stemming from an erupting wisdom tooth won’t go away. Wisdom teeth are often damaged or sustain decay quickly because it is difficult to keep them clean. They are in the extreme back of the mouth and that makes flossing, brushing, and cleaning challenges

Trying to keep them clean becomes more cumbersome if the patient has a smaller mouth. That typically leads to future dental problems.

When to See Your Dentist

The recommendation is to schedule a dental appointment when you start to feel or see wisdom teeth coming in. They don’t typically come in at the same time. You may have one or two come in and the other two will erupt months later.

Getting your wisdom teeth removed as they are erupting will limit your pain. However, those who start to experience pain should call their dentist immediately and schedule an appointment.

The other time to pay attention to pain and other symptoms is after you’ve had your wisdom tooth removed either at your local dentist’s office or through more complicated oral surgery by an oral surgeon.

Be sure to have an emergency number on hand for the dentist or surgeon performing the procedure in case you have pain or other issues after you get home.

Some possible issues to be aware of are excessive bleeding, fever, difficulty breathing or swallowing, severe pain, a bad taste in your mouth, loss of feeling in the mouth, and blood or pus in nasal discharge.

Any of these symptoms require you to call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.

Anyone with these types of problems will require at least one follow-up appointment. Most dental patients don’t need a follow-up appointment after extraction if no complications were occurring during the procedure or if they don’t have ongoing, persistent problems.

Aftercare for Wisdom Tooth Removal

The three reasons you will have wisdom tooth pain are either an infection that exists in a wisdom tooth that hasn’t been removed, a wisdom tooth that is growing improperly, or the pain that exists after surgery.

Those with wisdom tooth pain before surgery have no option but to see their dentist. The pain isn’t going to go away.

Some dentists don’t have quick appointments or emergency care like we do. There are some home remedies you can use to manage the pain until you can see your dentist.

A saltwater rinse is fairly effective on most toothaches. It keeps the area clean of bacteria and can lessen the pain.

It can be especially helpful if you have a gum infection or a cyst at the bottom of the tooth because a saltwater rinse will clear bacteria out.

Another home remedy is to soak a cotton ball in peppermient extract and then place it on the area of pain. Be sure to rub it directly on your teeth. You can also use cooled peppermint tea as a mouth rinse and that should also relieve wisdom teeth pain.

Pain After Surgery

Those with discomfort after wisdom tooth surgery can do some things to make it better before deciding to call their dentist.

You should have a prescription pain reliever from your dentist or oral surgeon. Don’t be shy about using it. The pain will start as your local anesthetic is wearing off. You will need the medication for at least two days.

Don’t try to brush your teeth. That could harm the stitches if you have stitches. Use a mouthwash or a mouth rinse instead for 24 hours after surgery.

Don’t try to eat normally because of the wound and stitches. Trying to chew hard things, eating things that are extremely cold or hot, and chewy things will cause pain Instead, go for soft things for the first day. That would include gelatin, pudding, mashed potatoes, and some soups if they aren’t too hot.

Also, stay away from spicy things as that will irritate the surgical area. One piece of advice your dentist will give you is to drink lots of water. Stay away from most other beverages like alcohol, carbonated, caffeinated, and sugary drinks for at least a day or so.

Water will help keep the area clean and continue to wash debris away. Ice packs on the side of the face where the surgery occurred can help with swelling and pain. You will have some swelling so don’t let that alarm you.

Seeing Your Dentist

People aren’t always sure about when to call their dentist or oral surgeon about pain. They don’t want to overreact or take up the dentist’s tie when there isn’t anything out of the norm. However, people should trust themselves and their instincts. They shouldn’t feel they must suffer with pain when they could have relief.

Don’t be afraid to call your dentist if you have pain from a wisdom tooth, either one that is erupting or the space where surgery occurred. Your dentist or oral surgeon can help you relieve the pain and create a permanent solution.