impacted wisdom teethQuestion: I am afraid of my erupting wisdom tooth; I have heard that it is painful. What are the possible causes of wisdom tooth pain and what are possible cures?

Answer: Most wisdom tooth growth is painful and this is because of different reasons. One popular reason is that a wisdom tooth may not erupt fully which causes impaction. Aside from pain killers that are available over-the –counter, there are several ways you can deal with wisdom tooth pain.

Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain

When wisdom tooth or teeth are painful there is a huge possibility that it is infected. Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molar and its position allows food to easily enter impacted wisdom tooth. A wisdom tooth is said to be impacted when it has not erupted fully or may not erupt at all; an impacted tooth is a perfect place for infection to set in because of the following reasons:

  • An impacted tooth may have places where food debris may get stuck; an impacted tooth is also deep and has crevices where it’s hard to remove debris. When food rots bacteria usually sets in and can cause an infection. Infection can worsen and can reach as far as the gums and adjoining tooth causing swelling and severe pain.
  • Impacted tooth that does not erupt or tooth that partially erupts may affect nearby tooth, gums and even bone. This brings about severe pain which can radiate to the temples, jaw, eyes and on the neck. Pain is basically one of the reasons why wisdom teeth are removed as soon as possible.
  • Wisdom teeth mostly partially erupt which means it may not come out all the way. There are also wisdom teeth that are angled in the wrong position and can push to nearby teeth which will cause extreme pain.

How to relieve wisdom teeth pain?

The best way to reduce wisdom teeth pain is to undergo extraction. However there are instances when teeth are infected, dentists usually treat the infection first before scheduling an extraction. Here are some ways to reduce wisdom teeth pain when you are waiting for your scheduled dental extraction:

  • Over –the-counter medications are the most common medications to use to manage wisdom tooth pain. Be sure to follow package instructions and to never overdose. OTC medications for pain like ibuprofen and paracetamol may work but more powerful pain medications like narcotic drugs like codeine and hydrocodine may be used; these need a prescription from your dentist.
  • You may use cold compress over the area to reduce pain. A small towel wet with cold water will do; place on the cheek and replace with another cold towel afterwards. You may use an ice pack to apply cold pressure on the area. If you can, slowly melt ice chips in your mouth to ease pain directly above the wisdom tooth area. You may use this remedy as often as you need.
  • Using herbal home remedies may help ease wisdom tooth pain. You may use anyone of the following techniques:
  1. Garlic – garlic has a natural therapeutic property that can help reduce swelling, ease pain and improve signs of inflammation. Garlic also has natural antibacterial properties that can help reduce bacteria growth in the mouth. Use a fresh garlic clove and press it, place it over the affected tooth and bite into it. Allow the juice to coat the teeth, spit out the juice when it becomes too strong. Continue this treatment until the pain disappears.

Impacted toothCooking garlic may take away its natural properties to reduce pain and kill bacteria so you better use fresh garlic at all times.

  1. Clove oil – cloves also have a natural property to reduce pain. The best way to use clove oil is to mix it with a little salt. Mix this well until you create a paste, apply this over the affected wisdom tooth or swelling gums. Clove oil may also be massaged directly on the affected gum. Do this twice a day to effectively reduce pain and swelling.
  2. Wheat grass – wheat grass is one of the most popular natural treatments these days and it is also effective for wisdom tooth pain. Use ready to drink wheat grass juice; use this like a mouth wash. Gargle this twice or thrice a day to reduce toxins that contribute to poor wound healing and infection. When infection is controlled, pain will also be managed.
  3. Black tea – black tea is made of bulk herbs that have natural properties to reduce swelling and pain in the gums. Use a fresh bag of black tea, dip it in warm water and then place on the affected area; it will soothe and reduce swelling of the gums along your wisdom teeth.
  4. Ginger – this fragrant herb is not just used for cooking but it also has natural properties that can reduce inflammation, alleviate pain and sooth swelling. Pound a small piece of ginger root; place this on the affected teeth when there is pain. You may use this as often as you can or twice or thrice a day.
  • Keeping the area clean and free from debris may help reduce pain until your scheduled extraction date. You can do this by gargling plain water; do not use alcohol-based mouthwashes or rinses since these will only irritate inflamed teeth and gums. You may also use antiseptic water which may be brought from drug stores. Use a cotton ball, let the cotton absorb antiseptic water and place this over the site twice or thrice a day.
  • Take a rest, sometimes straining will only make the pain worse. You must remember that rest allows the body to recuperate and to repair broken tissues. Resting will also prepare you for your scheduled extraction which can be a difficult procedure if your wisdom tooth is impacted or infected. Visit your dentist for the most suitable pain relief cure that can work for you.


  1. Kathryn Alderman

    Pericoronitis is also a well known complication from wisdom teeth. When a wisdom tooth partially erupts, the gums can still be partially covering the tooth so when you bite down, you bite your gums causing pain. Once this happens you can break the tissue and cause it to become inflamed, making it even easier for you to do it again. The relief options listen above are all great things to try!

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