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Wisdom Tooth Pain

wisdomWisdom teeth usually make an appearance between 17 and 21 years of age. Sometimes you can get an aching sensation when the tooth is trying to come through or “erupt”. We have seen them erupt underneath a denture of someone in their 70’s, so if you are more than 21 and you don’t have your wisdom teeth yet, don’t be surprised if they still cause problems! Sometimes they may not be there at all – it is not uncommon for one or more of them to never develop – but sometimes they can get stuck or “impacted”.

When there is severe pain with an infection around the wisdom tooth, it is called a “pericoronitis”, which just means infection around the crown of the tooth. It often produces a bad taste in the mouth and can cause you to feel quite unwell, possibly with a fever. If this happens, it is very important that you receive attention from your dentist or doctor as soon as possible. Pericoronitis of a lower wisdom tooth can be a serious condition if the infection spreads to the inside wall of the throat and it is important to start taking antibiotics. The cause of the pericoronitis is usually infection of the gum flap covering the partially erupted tooth.

You should never apply external heat, like a hot water bottle, to ease the pain as this could draw the infection into the cheek and can make matters worse – use hot salty mouth washes instead. As with any infection with fever, do not exercise.

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