Wisdom Tooth Pain: Causes and Cures

Wisdom tooth pain relief

Symptoms, Causes, and Cures for Wisdom Tooth Pain

It’s not uncommon to feel a little pain when your wisdom teeth start growing, but how can you differentiate the kind that indicates a problem from the one that’s just part of growing up? When trying to figure out if what you’re experiencing is wisdom tooth pain, pay attention to the following symptoms:

Symptoms of Wisdom Tooth Pain

Sore Gums

Remember teething as a baby? Most likely not. But you’ve probably heard stories or have tales of your own from your kids, nieces, or godsons. For many people, the development of the first teeth (milk teeth) or the last (wisdom teeth) starts with tenderness in the gums and discomfort at the point of eruption. In the latter group, that means you’ll feel the soreness at the back of your mouth.

Redness and Swelling

A wisdom tooth coming in can lead to swelling and redness of the gums and surrounding tissue. You’ll notice a difference in color and level of swelling from the teeth at the front to those at the rear of your mouth. This is normally the first sign that the molars are causing a disruption to the rest of your teeth.

Jaw Pain

If your jaw isn’t large enough to accommodate your new molars, your other teeth will shift and move to make space. This movement and crowding of the teeth can lead to excess stress on the jaw and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), causing tooth pain.

Ear Pain

Because your wisdom teeth and TMJ are located so close to the ears, impacted or infected molars may also lead to earaches.

Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain

In general, pain and discomfort related to wisdom teeth are because of:


Pain can occur from the pressure against the gum as the tooth tries to break through the soft tissue. You’ll feel the wisdom tooth pain in the jaw and at the point of eruption. This pain should subside once the tooth has come in all the way.


For a good number of people, wisdom teeth don’t emerge properly. The teeth can come in at a weird angle, get jammed up against the existing molars, or get stuck beneath the surface of the gums—what dentists call impaction of wisdom teeth. It can cause swelling in the wisdom tooth area, pain when chewing or biting, pain in the jaw, and difficulty opening your mouth.


When an impacted wisdom tooth partially erupts, it creates a place for bacteria to enter under the gum, leading to an infection, jaw stiffness, swelling, and pain. This is the most common cause of wisdom teeth pain.

Cures and Relief Remedies

Typically, wisdom tooth pain from healthy teeth coming in will go away on its own. However, there are a few things you can do to ease your discomfort:


Getting your wisdom teeth removed is the most permanent way to fix any molar-related pain issues and prevent any future problems. But if the teeth have already started giving you trouble, you’ll need to find other ways to ease the pain while you wait to see your dentist.


Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the outside of your jaw for about 20 minutes, then take a 20-minute break. Repeating this two or three times helps reduce any swelling and temporarily dulls the ache in your jaw.

Salt Water

Add two teaspoons of salt to 8 oz. of warm water and gargle the mixture for three two-minute intervals. Rinse your mouth with the salt water as many times as you can stand the taste. You’ll simultaneously disinfect your mouth as well as dislodge any debris and bacteria from the wisdom tooth eruption site that could be causing a painful infection.

Numbing Gel

Numbing dental gels containing benzocaine, a local anesthetic, that can help stop pain perception. Follow the usage instructions included on the product to get the maximum benefits.

OTC Medication

Over-the-counter medication, like ibuprofen, can provide substantial relief for pain and inflammation. However, make sure you take the drug as suggested on the packet to avoid any potential complications.

Finding relief from wisdom tooth pain.

While there are things you can do at home to ease wisdom tooth pain naturally, it’s important to remember that most pain-relieving measures are only temporary. You should pair home remedies with a visit to Dr. Monroe at Monroe Family Dentistry to shed light on the reasons behind your wisdom tooth pain. If the sore gums, jaw pain, earaches, redness, and swelling are because of growing wisdom teeth, your dentist is the best person to help you determine if the teeth should stay or go.