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Wisdom Tooth Woes: What’s to Blame for the Pain?

April 12, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drwardlaw @ 4:29 pm
Patient holding their cheek due to wisdom tooth pain

Ouch! Why does your wisdom tooth hurt so much? Unfortunately, it’s a complex question with many answers. Wisdom teeth often cause discomfort and pain as they emerge, but that’s not the only reason you could be feeling the sting. Understanding the reasons behind the pain can help you manage and alleviate it more effectively. So, if you’re curious, read to look at what causes wisdom tooth pain and how to find relief.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

The teeth furthest in the back of your mouth are known as wisdom teeth or third molars. Long ago, these teeth were necessary for ancient humans to break down the food they ate. However, over time, they became less necessary as cooking techniques and farming became more prevalent. Unfortunately, genetics didn’t get the hint and most people still develop them in their teen years.

What Causes Wisdom Tooth Pain?

There are several reasons why your wisdom teeth could be throbbing with pain. Here are some of the most common:


One of the most common causes of wisdom tooth pain is impaction. This happens when there isn’t enough room for the teeth to emerge properly, causing them to become trapped. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause significant pain, swelling, and even infection.

Partial Eruption

When a wisdom tooth only partially breaks through the gums, it creates an opening for bacteria to enter. Over time this allows bacteria to multiply in and around the tooth, causing infection.


Wisdom teeth often don’t have enough space to come in correctly. This forces them to push against other teeth, leading to crowding, and bite misalignment. Not only can this cause discomfort around your wisdom teeth, but it can also trigger temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.

Cysts and Tumors

In rare cases, cysts or tumors can form around your wisdom teeth. These growths can cause pain and damage to the surrounding tooth, gum, and bone structures.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth, making them harder to clean properly. As bacterial plaque accumulates, it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which can cause significant pain.

As you can see, wisdom tooth pain can come from multiple sources. However, understanding the underlying issues can help you get the treatment you need to find relief. If you’re experiencing persistent pain or other symptoms, call your dentist. They can find the root cause and help you explore your options to ensure your oral health and comfort remain intact.

About the Author

Dr. Stephen Wardlaw is a skilled and compassionate dentist who enjoys helping patients in need. He earned his dental doctorate from the Baylor College of Dentistry in 1998. Since then, he has been using his knowledge to help patients get out of pain and restore their smiles. Call (817) 572-5115 to schedule a wisdom tooth extraction at I-20 Family Dental or visit the website to see a full menu of services.

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