Understanding Wisdom Tooth Pain & How to Find Relief

Are you suffering from wisdom tooth pain? You’re not alone — the third molars frequently cause toothaches, gum soreness and jaw pain. Headaches, earaches and sore throats are also not uncommon

If your wisdom teeth hurt, it’s time to have an oral surgeon take a look. Pain in the third molars usually indicates a problem that requires professional attention. It’s important to discover what is causing your wisdom tooth pain and how to find relief until your oral surgeon appointment.

Causes of wisdom tooth pain

Growing Pains

Have you ever been around a teething baby? If so, you know the suffering that comes with tooth eruption, and wisdom teeth are no different. So your discomfort could simply be a natural result of the third molars growing in.


The source of pain in your wisdom teeth could also be a cavity. Since the third molars often grow close to the neighboring teeth, the area is difficult to clean properly, which makes it a prime location for cavities.


If your wisdom teeth are partially erupted, an infection could be to blame for your pain. When plaque and food particles find their way into the gum tissues — a common occurrence — the area becomes a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria.


The third molars are notorious for growing in at the wrong angle. When this happens, the teeth become impacted, or stuck in the gums. Impaction is quite painful, but it’s common — the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) says that 9 out of every 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.

How to Relieve Wisdom Tooth Pain

Wisdom tooth extraction is often the most effective way to address pain and eliminate the potential for future third-molar problems. Schedule an appointment with an experienced local oral surgeon as soon as possible.

However, you also need to take care of yourself in the meantime. Prior to your oral surgeon appointment, try the following to keep the pain under control:

  • Hold a cold compress or ice pack to your cheek.
  • Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution.
  • Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Apply benzocaine gel, a topical anesthetic available over the counter, to the gums.

If you’re experiencing pain in or around your wisdom teeth and you’re in the greater Salt Lake City area, contact Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah and make an appointment with Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield. Both are highly skilled in third-molar management, and each has over a decade of experience performing simple and complex wisdom tooth extractions.

With our three northern Utah offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, scheduling an appointment at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah is easy and convenient. If you need relief from wisdom tooth pain, contact us today.

Causes of wisdom tooth pain