Dental Emergencies: Wisdom Tooth Pain

Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of your mouth. They develop in your jawbone and for most people, eventually breaking through the gums. This is the last of your final adult teeth to come in, typically between the ages of 17 to 25.

If there is enough room in your mouth and your wisdom teeth grow straight, you may not even notice them. However, if there is not enough room, you may experience irritation, inflammation, and intense pain.

Some of the signs that your wisdom teeth are causing problems include:

  • Swollen, tender, bleeding, red gums
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Bad taste in your mouth

When is it an emergency?

If your wisdom teeth are not giving you any problems, it is not a dental emergency. Just make an appointment to be examined and determine if they need to be removed. On the other hand, if your wisdom teeth are painful or the gums around them are swollen, this is considered a dental emergency.

One of the signs that your wisdom teeth are impacted is inflammation and/or discomfort around the tooth. When they don’t fully erupt, food and bacteria can get trapped between the tooth and the gum, which causes discomfort- or pericoronitis. If not treated properly in a timely manner, it may become infected, which can be dangerous and in rare instances life-threatening.

After you have made an appointment with the dentist to have your wisdom teeth taken care of, there are some things you can do in the meantime to relieve the pain:

  • Warm/cold compress
  • Take an over the counter pain reliever. Ibuprofen generally works best.
  • Saltwater rinse
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