Request Like Us Reviews

Woes of Wisdom: What Causes Wisdom Tooth Pain?

May 17, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drprather @ 5:55 pm
Patient scrunching their face due to wisdom tooth pain

Chances are when your wisdom teeth first came in, there were growing pains to deal with. Wisdom teeth are the third molars that usually appear around the mid-teens or early twenties for most. While some people experience no issues, for many, the experience was uncomfortable at best. But why do they hurt so often? Read on to learn the reasons for wisdom tooth pain and how you can find relief.

Eruption Pain

As wisdom teeth break through the gums, they can cause soreness and tenderness. This is similar to the discomfort babies experience when teething. Over-the-counter pain medication is a good way to manage this pain until your dentist can remove your wisdom teeth.


One of the most common causes of wisdom tooth pain is impaction. This is when the tooth doesn’t have enough room to emerge properly and becomes stuck under the gum or against other teeth. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to significant pain and other complications like infection or damage to adjacent tooth structures.

Tooth Decay

Wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth, making them difficult to clean properly. As a result, they’re far more prone to decay and cavities. A decayed wisdom tooth can expose the inner layers of the tooth, causing throbbing pain and sensitivity.

Gum Issues

Poor oral hygiene around wisdom teeth can also lead to gum disease, which causes swelling, redness, and pain. There’s also a serious issue called pericoronitis that can affect the gums around a wisdom tooth.

As food particles and bacteria get trapped under the gum flap, the tissue begins to swell and fester, leading to severe pain. This condition often requires professional treatment to prevent it from getting worse. 

Managing Wisdom Tooth Pain

The pain caused by wisdom teeth is hard to ignore. The throbbing, sharp, or dull ache can be incredibly distracting, affecting your work, daily activities, and even your sleep. Here are a few ways you can find relief:

  • Generic Pain Medication: Over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen can help alleviate mild or moderate discomfort.
  • Cold Compress: Place ice in a bag or towel and hold it against the affected area. Be sure to only use the ice for 20 minutes and take a 30-minute break between sessions.
  • Extraction: If your wisdom tooth pain is severe and persistent, extraction is a viable choice, taking away your discomfort at the source.

Understanding the causes of wisdom tooth pain and knowing how to manage it can make a big difference in your comfort. With proper care and regular dental visits, you can keep wisdom tooth pain under control and maintain an active and quality life.

About the Author

Dr. James Kirby is a passionate and talented dentist with a dental doctorate from the University of Tennessee in Memphis. He loves helping his patients achieve brighter, healthier smiles and keeping their mouths pain-free. Whether you need a simple filling or a wisdom tooth extraction, he has the technology and the know-how to help. Call (615) 327-2123 to schedule an emergency appointment at Green Hills Dental Center or visit the website to discover other services they offer.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.