How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Pain Last? Coping Strategies for Managing Pain

Medically Reviewed By
Jonathan G. Campbell, DDS, FAGD
One of the top rated Dentist in Salt Lake City, UT

How long does wisdom teeth pain last? Wisdom teeth, the third set of molars, typically emerge during late adolescence, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. Their name stems from this developmental stage, symbolizing the transition into adulthood, often associated with gaining wisdom.

Residing within the jawbone, wisdom teeth gradually grow until they protrude through the gumline, completing the set of adult teeth.

In modern times, wisdom teeth serve little purpose, considered vestigial remnants of our evolutionary past. They were once vital for our ancestors, aiding in the breakdown of tough, unprocessed foods like raw meats and vegetation. Additionally, these teeth served as backups, crucial in an era where tooth loss was more prevalent due to dietary challenges.

Cause of Wisdom Teeth Pain

Several factors contribute to wisdom teeth pain.

  • Impaction: Often, there isn't enough space in the jaw for wisdom teeth to erupt properly. This can lead to them becoming impacted, meaning they're stuck beneath the gum tissue or bone. This pressure on surrounding tissues causes pain and inflammation.
  • Angulation: Even if there's some space, wisdom teeth might erupt at an awkward angle, pushing against other teeth or causing irritation to the jawbone.
  • Gum Infection: Partially erupted wisdom teeth create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to gum inflammation and infection, further amplifying the pain.

How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Pain Last?

Determining the exact duration of wisdom teeth pain can be challenging as it varies from person to person. Typically, if there are no complications, the discomfort may subside within a week or two. However, numerous factors can influence the trajectory of wisdom tooth growth, thus impacting the duration of pain. Consequently, pinpointing an exact timeline of “how long does wisdom teeth pain last?” can be difficult.

After the initial severe pain associated with wisdom teeth growth diminishes, over-the-counter medications can help manage any lingering discomfort. It's important to note that throughout the process of wisdom tooth eruption, you may encounter recurring episodes of pain.

Strategies to Cope with Wisdom Teeth Pain

While wisdom teeth pain can be distressing, there are several coping strategies you can employ to alleviate discomfort and promote healing:

  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: Non-prescription pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate wisdom teeth pain. Follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult your dentist if you have any concerns.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and numb the pain. Use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth and apply it to the outside of your cheek for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Saltwater Rinse: Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe sore gums and promote healing. Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and rinse your mouth gently several times a day.
  • Soft Diet: Stick to a soft diet consisting of soups, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and yogurt to minimize discomfort while chewing. Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that may aggravate the pain.
  • Proper Oral Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing gently around the wisdom teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Be careful not to irritate the gums or disturb any blood clots that may have formed.
  • Warm Compress: In some cases, applying a warm compress to the jaw can help relax the muscles and alleviate tension associated with wisdom teeth pain. Use a warm, damp cloth and hold it against the jaw for 15-20 minutes as needed.
  • Herbal Remedies: Certain herbal remedies such as clove oil or chamomile tea may provide natural pain relief for wisdom teeth discomfort. Consult with your dentist or healthcare provider before using any herbal supplements.
  • Consult Your Dentist: If the pain persists or becomes severe, it's essential to seek professional dental care. Your dentist can evaluate the condition of your wisdom teeth and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as extraction or medication.

When Should You Visit Your Dentist for Wisdom Teeth Pain?

While rare, developing an infection following wisdom teeth extractions is possible. Indications suggesting the presence of an infection may include:

  • Persistent throbbing pain lasting for three or more days after the surgery
  • Continuous bleeding that does not improve with pressure
  • Increasing swelling
  • Development of a fever
  • Detection of a bad taste in your mouth or persistent bad breath
  • Swelling in the gums, glands, or jaw

Smoking should be avoided as smokers face a higher risk of infection compared to non-smokers. If any of these signs or symptoms are observed, it is crucial to promptly contact your dentist. In the case of an infection, a course of antibiotics will likely be necessary for treatment.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction at Legacy Dental

There isn't a definitive answer to “How long does wisdom teeth pain last?” The duration of pain can differ based on factors such as jaw size and overall dental health. For further details, feel free to contact the dental professionals of Legacy Dental.

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By day three, swelling and pain might reach their climax. You could also feel tightness in your jaw and throat, making it hard to open your mouth wide or speak easily.

While typical tooth extraction sites gradually improve, dry sockets worsen with sharp pain days after the procedure. You might even see exposed bone or tissue, along with a bad smell. Unlike dry sockets, regular healing involves decreasing pain and no other bothersome symptoms. Dry sockets can be painful, but they typically don't pose a major health risk.

While an infected wisdom tooth can be incredibly painful, the bigger concern is the potential for the infection to spread throughout your body, leading to more serious complications.

Legacy Dental blog is proudly run by our Salt Lake City dentists team; We share knowledge about general dental care and practices. Apart from running this blog, we offer various dental services such as general dentistry, emergency dentistry, and dental implants for the community in Salt Lake City, Utah

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