You have four wisdom teeth (molars), one in each corner of your mouth. These teeth are the last to grow in -- usually when you are between the ages of 17 and 25. This is the time of life called the Age of Wisdom, hence the name wisdom teeth. When there's not enough room in the mouth for a wisdom tooth to break through, it will push or get stuck against another tooth and grow at an angle under the gum. This is called an impacted wisdom tooth, and will cause pain and irritation. If part of an impacted wisdom tooth pushes through the gum, the gum may become sore and swollen. Food particles and bacteria can collect around the impacted wisdom tooth and cause decay. It's very difficult to remove that decay and it will most likely cause an infection. In most cases, an impacted wisdom tooth has to be extracted [source: Medicinenet].
There are some simple things that can temporarily relieve the pain of an impacted wisdom tooth [source: Dental health].
- Rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution by swishing it around for 30 seconds and then spitting it out will help ease the pain around the infected tooth. Rinse this way several times a day, and be sure not to swallow the salt water.
- Oral numbing medications can be applied to the affected area.
- Over-the-counter pain relievers may help ease the pain.
- Chewing gum will gently massage the irritated area.
These measures may temporarily relieve the pain. However, your dentist should examine the tooth and decide whether further treatment is necessary.