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How To Manage Wisdom Tooth Pain
For most individuals, their first wisdom tooth begins to grow in between the ages of 17 and 25. While every mouth is different, it is typical to have a total of only four wisdom teeth. In some cases, fewer appear above the gum line, while others may never surface at all. For a few people, the arrival of wisdom teeth is completely unnoticeable. However, many young adults experience pain and discomfort during this phase.
The most common causes of wisdom tooth pain
There are many reasons wisdom teeth can cause irritation and pain in the mouth. It is important to have all dental pain evaluated by a professional to determine the true source of the discomfort.
The natural process of tooth eruption
When wisdom teeth begin to break the surface of the gums, redness, swelling, itching and minor irritation may occur. Some patients may even experience slight headaches, earaches or a sore jaw during this time. If the symptoms recede, then the pain was likely due to the natural growth process.
Overcrowding or crooked growth
Most people do not have sufficient room in the back of the mouth to accommodate wisdom teeth. In these situations, the teeth may grow in at an angle or place painful pressure against the existing adult teeth. Also, wisdom teeth may become impacted below the gum line, pushing against the permanent teeth below the surface. An impacted wisdom tooth often leads to serious complications, including gum disease, cysts, tooth damage or chronic pain.
Sometimes, a wisdom tooth may only grow in partially, allowing bacteria to become trapped through the openings surrounding the tooth. This can lead to infection of the gums, teeth or jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth may also cause infection in the mouth. Oral infections may create serious pain as well as pus around the affected area. Any type of infection in the body should be treated right away, especially if a fever develops.
Managing wisdom tooth pain
The pain caused by wisdom teeth can often become unbearable. Fortunately, there are several ways to effectively handle the situation.
For wisdom tooth pain, patients may find relief by:
- Rinsing with a warm saltwater solution
- Using an ice pack or ice chips to reduce painful swelling
- Taking pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
While these methods can help ease painful symptoms, it is still important to schedule a dental evaluation to rule out problematic issues that may need to be addressed.
To relieve chronic pain, prevent crooked teeth due to overcrowding or treat problems with infection, individuals can have their wisdom teeth removed. Typically, an oral surgeon can do the procedure, removing the teeth and suturing the gums. While the surgery requires a few days of recovery, it helps provide permanent relief from wisdom tooth pain.
There are many causes and treatment options for wisdom tooth pain, so it is critical to seek evaluation from a dental professional. Even if pain subsides, wisdom teeth often lead to dental complications down the road. While home remedies can offer temporary relief, extraction may be necessary for a safer and more permanent solution.
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