Wisdom tooth pain can be extremely distracting, disrupting sleep and focus on daily activities. The wisdom teeth are types of molars that come in at the very back of the mouth, erupting in the late teen years into adulthood. Wisdom tooth pain can manifest as an aching jaw, soreness when the tooth rubs against nearby structures or tenderness as the tooth erupts through the gumline. Depending on the position of the tooth, you may need to see your dentist for treatment.
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Occasionally when a wisdom tooth is erupting, a flap of skin may partially remain, covering the tooth. Food particles tend to become trapped, leading to infection. Wisdom tooth pain in this situation can be relieved by treating the infection. A dentist may prescribe antibiotics and may clean the area to remove food and bacteria from under the skin.
Pain relievers may be used to find relief from dental pain, including those bought over the counter or prescribed by a dentist. Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, work to treat minor pain. A dentist may prescribe narcotics for severe pain or following wisdom tooth removal. Some types of narcotics typically prescribed for wisdom tooth pain include acetaminophen with codeine; hydrocodone; or oxycodone.
A dentist may have to remove a wisdom tooth that is causing pain. After numbing the area with a local anesthetic, the tooth is removed. If it is blocked by bone, the portion of bone obstructing the tooth may also be removed. The dentist then uses stitches to close the opening. Wisdom tooth removal may continue to cause pain after the procedure, but this eventually should resolve if there are no problems and the area has healed.
You can try a few remedies at home while waiting to see the dentist. Cutting a small slice of cucumber or potato, and placing it next to the tooth provides soothing relief if the vegetable is cold. Pouring vanilla extract onto a cotton ball and placing it onto the tooth may help by numbing the area. Gargling with warm water and salt or placing an ice pack on the outside of the cheek are other methods that may provide some relief. Remember that home remedies are a temporary measure, and be sure to consult a dentist.
Waiting to see a dentist and hoping wisdom tooth pain will resolve itself can lead to further health problems. Crest Pro Health recommends visiting a dentist sooner than later for relief of wisdom tooth pain. Untreated, a wisdom tooth may be unable to grow properly due to proximity of the jaw bone or surrounding teeth, a condition known as impaction. A wisdom tooth may also develop fluid-filled cysts in the nearby gums, which can make removing the tooth extremely difficult.