For most people, wisdom teeth will start to grow during adolescence or early adulthood — long after the other permanent teeth have grown. It’s rare that these third molars have enough room to fully grow without causing some pain, overcrowding, and other dental issues. To avoid common wisdom teeth problems, it’s essential to recognize the symptoms of growing wisdom teeth and understand why it’s often recommended to have them removed.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Because so many people have them removed, it’s easy to question why we even have wisdom teeth in the first place. As it turns out, wisdom teeth are the product of the evolutionary process. Our ancestors had different diets than we do today and needed larger jaws with these extra teeth to chew their food properly.
As our diets and food preparation habits changed, humans slowly evolved to have smaller jaws. However, wisdom teeth still develop in most people — despite the fact that we no longer need them and our jaws typically cannot accommodate them.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?
Wisdom teeth usually come in between the ages of 17 and 21. However, it could happen earlier or later. Some people experience a growth spurt later in their 20s, which can cause wisdom teeth to grow at that time. Even if you think you’re past the age of wisdom teeth growth, it could still happen and cause dental problems.
If you suspect your wisdom teeth are causing uncomfortable symptoms, it’s always best to speak with your dentist right away. Removing wisdom teeth early can make the process and recovery easier because the growing teeth are still soft and pliable.
What Are The Risks Of Ignoring Wisdom Teeth Pain?
It’s generally not a good idea to ignore toothaches or pain in the mouth. This discomfort is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right. Wisdom tooth pain could indicate that these teeth are not growing properly and can increase the risk of tooth impaction, infections, and difficulty eating and speaking.
Common issues caused by problematic wisdom teeth include:
- Impacted teeth: Wisdom teeth often grow sideways or at an angle that pushes against the other molars and jawbone. When the wisdom teeth become stuck in these positions, they are impacted and can lead to throbbing pain and other dental issues.
- Gum disease: Your risk of developing periodontal disease goes up when impacted wisdom teeth cause irritation, swelling, or infections in the gums
- Higher risk of decay: Even if your wisdom teeth erupt in the right position, they are very difficult to clean because of their location in the back of the mouth. Wisdom teeth may be more prone to plaque and bacteria buildup that leads to tooth decay.
- Pressure and numbness: Some people experience numbness in their gums, jaw, or face from the pressure of growing wisdom teeth
- Ongoing or increasing pain: It’s common for people to feel mild to severe pain that persists or worsens as wisdom teeth erupt. This pain can continue to increase if you develop an impacted tooth or infection.
- Overcrowding: Because there is usually not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth, they can push against other teeth and cause overcrowding and dental misalignments
What Are The Symptoms Of Growing Wisdom Teeth?
While some people might not experience symptoms at all, there are common signs to look for that may indicate your wisdom teeth are growing. You may experience:
- Jaw pain
- Tender, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Swelling around the jaw
Because there is limited room in the mouth and jaw, wisdom teeth can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms that affect your quality of life. Rather than ignoring these signs, schedule an appointment with your dentist to assess the issue. They may recommend having these third molars removed.
How Long Does Wisdom Tooth Growing Pain Last?
People will usually feel pain and pressure for about three to four days while the wisdom teeth make their appearance in the back of the mouth. However, this pain can persist or intensify if the wisdom teeth become impacted or infected. If this happens, it’s unlikely that the pain will go away on its own. You will need to consult a dentist for treatment to avoid further damage.
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Why Does Wisdom Tooth Pain Come And Go?
Growing wisdom teeth can be painful as they put pressure on the jaw, gums, and neighboring teeth. While it may seem like the pain comes and goes, it’s likely that you simply don’t notice the discomfort as much when you’re distracted or using over-the-counter pain medication.
When you have fewer distractions or the pain medication starts to wear off, the pain may be more apparent. However, wisdom teeth pain will sometimes resolve on its own if there is enough room in your mouth to accommodate them.
Can You Keep Your Wisdom Teeth?
Some individuals are able to keep their wisdom teeth if these molars have grown completely and are not causing any issues. Unfortunately, that is not very common. Wisdom teeth typically grow at an angle that will cause problems if left in the mouth. Your dentist will let you know if you should have your wisdom teeth removed or not.
What If I Can’t See My Dentist Right Away For Wisdom Tooth Pain?
If you can’t see your dentist right away when experiencing discomfort, there are home remedies that will alleviate some of the pain caused by a wisdom tooth until you can get in to see a professional. Some of these include:
- Saltwater rinse
- Ice pack
- Vanilla extract
- Baking soda paste
- Raw onion
- Cucumber slices
Reducing Wisdom Tooth Complications
To avoid complications, it’s important to prioritize your dental health and stay on top of wisdom teeth issues. With offices in Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Sparks, Carson City, and more, Absolute Dental is the most trusted name in Nevada dental care. We offer wisdom tooth extractions under sedation to keep your smile healthy and strong.
Bharathi, A. et al. (2023). Vestigiality of wisdom teeth in relation to human evolution and lifestyle modification: A cross-sectional study.
Renton, T. et al. (2016). Problems with erupting wisdom teeth: signs, symptoms, and management.
Wisdom Teeth. (2023).