General Dentistry

Wisdom teeth: pain, symptoms and extraction

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars located in the back of your mouth. They typically grow in between the ages of 17 and 25. Although most people have wisdom teeth, it remains possible for some or all molars to never develop.

Wisdom teeth are often removed because they simply don’t have enough room to erupt correctly without becoming impacted or shifting adjacent teeth.

Closeup of dentist hand holding a model tooth

Wisdom teeth pain symptoms

As wisdom teeth start to come in, they will usually produce:

  • A feeling of pressure or dull throbbing in the back of the jaws.
  • Pain at the back of the mouth, behind the molars.
  • Inflamed gums
  • Sinus problems

Wisdom tooth pain can sometimes come out of nowhere, suddenly erupting overnight, as it can also manifest gradually. As time progresses, the pain may become more severe and be accompanied by difficulty eating, bleeding gums, bad breath, and intense sensitivity in surrounding teeth.

These symptoms are a result of the overcrowding of the teeth in your mouth caused by the additional molars. This increasing discomfort will only get worse over time and is a clear sign that you need to get your wisdom teeth removed.

An important first step if you think you may be experiencing wisdom tooth pain is to make an appointment to see your dentist. A panoramic radiograph is usually the preferred X-ray to help assess the angle of eruption and state of development of the tooth.

Wisdom tooth extraction

The extraction of the problematic wisdom tooth is a common dental procedure that is performed by an oral surgeon or a qualified general dentist.

To make sure that the tooth is pulled out painlessly, local anesthesia or conscious sedation are administered depending on the complexity of the procedure. The dentist may also administer nitrous gas in addition to the local anesthetic.

If the wisdom tooth is partially or fully erupted, a simple extraction is carried out. A dental elevator is used to wiggle the tooth in its socket. Once it’s loose, forceps are used to remove it.

If the wisdom tooth is impacted, a complex extraction that requires an incision in the gum is carried out. The tooth is the sectioned in order to be removed in pieces and then the site is stitched closed.

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