How Can I Treat Wisdom Teeth Pain?

Author: Gabrielle Marks

The wisdom teeth are the final teeth in the adult dentition to emerge, usually in the late teen years between 17-25.

Screaming babies are well aware that the eruption of any tooth through the gumline is likely to cause discomfort or pain.  If your pain is the result of an emerging tooth, the Academy of General Dentistry recommends the following courses of action to alleviate some discomfort.

Rinse With Warm Salt Water

Swishing with warm salt water will help to draw out fluids causing gum swelling and seems to possess an overall soothing effect. It also cleans the area around the emerging tooth and gum and dislodges any foreign substances that could be exacerbating the pain.

Do not use water that is too hot or too cold. The extremes in temperature on a sensitive tooth can cause further pain.  Here's how to mix a soothing warm saltwater cocktail:

  • 3 tablespoons of table salt
  • 6 oz glass of lukewarm water

Mix the ingredients well.  Swish concentrating on the area of discomfort allowing the saltwater bath to move in and around the tooth for one to two minutes.  Spit.

Floss with Caution

If the wisdom tooth has partially emerged, the pain could be caused by food being lodged between it and the adjoining tooth.  Insert floss gently between the two teeth to dislodge any particles.  Don't be overzealous as irritation to the swollen gums could cause further discomfort.

Take a Pain Reliever

Any pain reliever such as aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen helps to alleviate pain including that of a toothache.  Ibuprofen tends to contain more anti-inflammatory properties and may work better if this is the source of your toothache pain.

Some folk remedies suggest crushing an aspirin into a paste and applying it directly to the source of the pain, the gums.  Aspirin and other medications can actually burn the gums and should NEVER be used directly in this manner.

Numb the Pain

You can apply a numbing gel directly to the area of discomfort such as eugenol  (oil of cloves) or a product containing benzocaine such as Orajel®. The point of a numbing gel is to temporarily numb the pain, similar to the sensation you experience when given novacaine prior to dental treatment.  Simply dab the ointment on the tooth itself and all surrounding areas.

Old Fashioned Ice Pack

Ice can often relieve pain and swelling and may provide temporary comfort for a toothache caused by emerging teeth.  Place ice cubes in a face cloth and apply to the affected area.

Stop Smoking

Even if temporarily, stopping smoking may help alleviate your tooth pain.  The tobacco in cigarettes and chewing tobacco can irritate gums and stimulates adrenaline, which heightens pain.  The nicotine blocks endorphins.


Works Cited

American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
"Wisdom Teeth"

Know Your Teeth
"Know Your Teeth"

Kirchheimer, Sid
"The Doctors book of home remedies II"

Expert Opinion 

Quote: "Here's a neat trick developed by pain researcher Ronald Melzack, Ph.D., of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Rub a piece of ice on the V-shaped area between your thumb and forefinger for five to seven minutes, until that area goes numb. This treatment significantly eases tooth pain by sending impulses along the same pathways that toothache pain travels. The impulses close the gate on incoming pain messages--in effect, shutting off the ache."

Source:  Kirchheimer, Sid. The Doctors book of home remedies II: over 1,200 new doctor- tested tips and techniques anyone can use to heal hundreds of everyday health problems.
New York: Bantam Books, 1995. Print.



Dentition:  the arrangement, type, and number of the teeth in a particular species.

Endorphins: any of a class of polypeptides, including enkephalin, occurring naturally in the brain, that bind to pain receptors and so block pain sensation.

Adrenaline: a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal medulla in response to stress and increases heart rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure, and raises the blood levels of glucose and lipids. It is extracted from animals or synthesized for such medical uses as the treatment of asthma.

Collins English Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

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"How Can I Treat Wisdom Teeth Pain?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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