WISDOM TOOTH HURTS

You start to have pressure pain in the back of the jaw behind the molars.  The pain is sudden and then it goes away. The pain comes back and goes away.  This pain and relief cycle repeats itself, and each time the pain comes back it gets worse. You go to a dentist for an emergency visit, and the dentist tells you your wisdom needs to be extracted because it is impacted.  What are some signs and symptoms your wisdom teeth is a candidate for extraction?

Your wisdom tooth hurts and may require treatment (which may or may not include extraction) if it is impacted.  There are two types of impaction, soft tissue impaction and hard tissue impaction.  Soft tissue impaction occurs when the wisdom tooth causes the gums (gingiva) to be swollen and inflamed. Hard tissue impaction occurs when the wisdom tooth is directly affecting the adjacent teeth.   Your wisdom tooth can also hurt if it has a cavity or if it is broken.

POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS OF AN IMPACTED WISDOM TOOTH

1. Sudden and gradual onset of pressure and pain in back of jaw
2. Your back teeth (molars) does have obvious signs of cavity or infection, yet you still have pain behind your molars
3. Your wisdom tooth has erupted and you feel pain in the wisdom tooth.

POSSIBLE SIGNS OF AN IMPACTED WISDOM TOOTH
1. The gums behind your second molars are painful to touch.
2. The gums behind your second molars are red and puffy, and may even bleed.
3. There is a bad taste in your mouth
4. You see part of a tooth coming up, and part of it is covered by gum tissue
5. Your dentist takes an x-ray and the tooth is coming in horizontally or at an angle relative to the second molars

WISDOM TOOTH HAS A CAVITY

Because wisdom teeth are usually located so far towards the back of the mouth, its location makes it prone to getting tooth decay. Wisdom teeth with decay close to the nerve may also cause pain.

WHAT AGE DOES AN WISDOM TOOTH ERUPT

Wisdom teeth tend to erupt at 17-21 years of age

WISDOM TOOTH TREATMENT IF YOUR WISDOM TOOTH HURTS

1. For temporary relief, one can try taking a NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory) medication to help with the pain relief. Ibuprofen is typically recommended. Consult with your dentist and physician for a complete medical history checkup before taking any medications for relief.
2. If NSAID does not help with pain relief, if the wisdom tooth is soft tissue and/or hard tissue impacted, tooth may need a surgical extraction. Your family dentist may recommend you to a local surgeon near you, depending on the difficulty of the extraction.
3. If tooth decay is source of your wisdom tooth pain, a filling or root canal and crown may or may not appropriate, depending on if the wisdom tooth is easily accessible and function.

If you have any questions about why your wisdom tooth hurts and appropriate treatment, be sure to consult your family dentist or oral surgeon.

From the desk of your Bellevue dentist,

Peter Chien, DMD, MPH
(425) 614-1600

Bellevue Family Dentistry
1299 156th Ave NE #115
Bellevue, WA 98007