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Wisdom Tooth Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Wisdom Tooth Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Molars or teeth grow in different sets while you are growing up. Teeth you get around 6 to 12 years are known as your first and second molars. The third molars are your wisdom teeth which you get between the ages of 17 and 30 years. You may experience wisdom tooth pain when they are impaired and grow abnormally. The third molar pain can range from dull to sharp. You may experience pain either in one place or throughout your body.

When the pain gets unbearable you take the help of a dentist to treat the molar tooth pain. You can prevent wisdom tooth pain by practicing good oral hygiene and regular dental checkups.


Wisdom tooth pain is either isolated to a single tooth or surrounding multiple molars.

Symptoms of molar tooth pain include:

  • Tenderness near your jaw
  • Sinus pressure
  • Fever
  • Gum swelling or bleeding
  • Tight jaw muscles
  • Sensitivity to cold and hot foods and beverages
  • Sharp pain
  • Throbbing in your jaw
  • Worsening pain at night
  • Pain near your ear
  • Pain when chewing
  • Headache

When you experience such symptoms, ensure you visit the dentist and get medical help.

Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain

Wisdom teeth usually do not cause pain when they are healthy and in the correct position.

You may experience mild to severe pain due to these factors:

  • Formation of cyst – This can damage the bone or roots.
  • Your jaw is not large enough to give wisdom teeth the proper space. This can lead your wisdom tooth to get stuck in your jaw and not be able to break through your gums.
  • Trouble cleaning as they are situated far back.
  • Due to less space, your wisdom tooth may find it difficult to break through your gums. It can grow only partway, making a flap of gum tissue to grow over it. This flap can trap food particles that can further lead to gum infection
  • One of the most common reasons, you may experience molar tooth pain when they grow crooked or face the wrong direction.

Risk Factors

Risk factors of wisdom tooth pain include:

  • Subperiosteal abscess: This is a pus boil that develops when tissue debris and bone are trapped between the tissue covering the bone and the healing extraction socket. Your doctor can treat the abscess and prescribe antibiotics that can help clear any infection.
  • Bacterial infections: Post-operative bacterial infections are rare, but when it occurs you should get medical help immediately. Your doctor will recommend undergoing surgery. Before the surgery, your dentist will give antibiotics to sidestep problems with infection. After the surgery, your dentist will recommend mouth rinses or antibiotic regimens that help your teeth and overall oral health.
  • Dry socket: Although dry socket is rare, it is one of the risk factors as well as complications following surgery. Typically, it occurs four to seven days after a tooth extraction when the blood clot needed for healing dissolves too soon. Your dentist will either treat this with an oral antiseptic solution or a specialized dressing, depending on your condition.


Ensure you visit the dentist’s clinic when experiencing the symptoms of wisdom tooth pain. Your dentist will do a physical examination and rule out third molar pain.

Your dentist may ask for an X-ray to understand if your wisdom teeth are causing any issues or likely to cause problems in the future. Specialized X-rays are taken to understand the position and other details of the wisdom tooth and diagnose the problem.


Treatment for wisdom tooth pain depends on the severity of your condition. There are certain home remedies that provide relief and manage acute molar pain. But, you should visit the dentist if the pain gets severe.

Your dentist provides solutions that can help treat molar pain permanently and avoid long-term molar pain or any other damage.

Your dentist may prescribe the following treatments to soothe molar pain temporarily:

  • Use an ice pack or a warm water bag on your face near the molar pain to suppress pain.
  • An over-the-counter (OTC) topical medication with benzocaine
  • An OTC NSAID pain reliever

Keep in mind that benzocaine-containing products can have serious side effects. Ensure children under age 2 do not use this drug, so keep away from children.

Wisdom tooth removal

In extreme cases, your dentist suggests removing your wisdom tooth to treat the condition and provide permanent relief. Your dentist may recommend undergoing this surgery for the following reasons:

  • If wisdom teeth are causing infections, gum disease, or both
  • Wisdom teeth are partially erupted and showing signs of decay
  • If wisdom teeth are causing swelling and pain
  • The wisdom teeth are causing damage to other teeth
  • If wisdom teeth don’t have enough room for them to grow without causing issues

You must know every case is different. Some wisdom teeth removals can be very simple and may take a few minutes to remove. Some complex cases may take 30-40 minutes.

Your doctor removes the molar and the gum is put back together with stitches. Sometimes the teeth can be easily removed without the need for incision or drilling.

Your doctor will give you complete information about how simple or complex the condition is and how the surgery will be.

Lifestyle Changes

Incorporate these lifestyle changes to prevent wisdom tooth pain:

  • Floss daily
  • Change your toothbrush every three to four months
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks
  • Adopt a healthy diet
  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Avoid eating and drinking cold and hot foods and beverages
  • Try not to chew on ice, popcorn kernels, or other hard food items

If you have undergone wisdom tooth removal, use these tips for faster recovery and self-care:

  • Avoid using drinking straws as sucking can displace the blood clot in the tooth socket
  • Use ice packs on the cheek for swelling
  • Bite on clean gauze to stop bleeding
  • Don’t chew hard or crunchy foods
  • Don’t drink hot liquids
  • Brush carefully after surgery
  • Eat soft foods and drink more liquids

Home Remedies

Use these home remedies to treat wisdom tooth pain:

  • Peppermint: Leaves of peppermint contain essential oils that can reduce inflammation and soothe pain. Apply peppermint extract on the painful gums to relieve pain.
  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera gel can help reduce and soothe pain around the wisdom teeth area. Also, it helps to heal your gums if they are cut or scratched while your teeth grow in.
  • Crushed ginger and garlic: Crushed garlic is one of the most effective pathogen killers that infect and damage your gum line. Making a paste with garlic and ginger makes garlic more effective to treat the condition.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric contains analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can be an effective toothache remedy. Apply turmeric powder on the infected area to treat wisdom tooth pain.
  • Oregano: Oregano oil is one of the powerful healers that prevent infection by killing bacteria. It can help reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling. Apply oregano oil twice a day to treat this condition.

Learn more about managing dental conditions here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Wisdom teeth/https://www.dentalhealth.org/wisdom-teeth/Accessed on October 11, 2021

Do Your Wisdom Teeth Really Have to Come Out?/https://health.clevelandclinic.org/qa-is-it-always-best-to-have-your-wisdom-teeth-removed/ Accessed on October 11, 2021

Third molar (wisdom) teeth/https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/dental/third-molar-(wisdom)-teeth.pdf/Accessed on October 11, 2021

Wisdom Tooth Problems/https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw172025#hw172027/ Accessed on October 11, 2021

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated 2 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Bianchi Mendoza, R.N.