Wisdom Tooth Pain
Wisdom teeth are the teeth furthest to the rear of the mouth. Some people do not have any wisdom teeth, some people have one, two or three, but most people have four wisdom teeth, also known as third molars.
Although some third molars have enough space to come into proper bite position, most peoples’ mouths are too small to come in all the way. The result is that the tooth comes part way in but then is blocked. This is called an impacted wisdom tooth. Since the impacted wisdom tooth is partly covered by gum it is impossible to clean well and food and bacteria accumulates between the gum and tooth. The becomes tender, swollen, and sometimes bleeds. If the gum is swollen enough, it hurts every time the teeth come together, making it uncomfortable to eat.
Wisdom teeth most commonly cause symptoms in young adults between age 18 and 22 as this is usually when they come in. The first aid measure for wisdom tooth pain is frequent, vigorous warm salt water rinses (one teaspoon in a glass of water). It is fairly common for third molars to flare up and then calm down over a period of months.
If the third molar flares up repeatedly, your dentist will diagnose the situation – usually with a panoramic x ray that shows the whole upper and lower jaw. If it is indeed a wisdom tooth problem you will most likely be referred to an oral surgeon to evaluate for surgery.
Usually it is better to remove all of the potential problem third molars in a single visit than to have to deal with other ones later.