In early adulthood, many people experience their wisdom teeth erupting from their gums. Wisdom teeth are molars that grow in the back of the mouth. It is believed that wisdom teeth were helpful to distant ancestors who had diets that consisted of rougher, tougher foods and needed them to help them chew those foods. But what can we expect from wisdom teeth today? This article is going to go over some basics regarding wisdom teeth, including pain and other symptoms.

Problems may arise with wisdom teeth when there isn’t enough room for the teeth to fully come in. This is believed to happen because our distant ancestors had larger jaws to accommodate the extra teeth while most of us today don’t. This can lead to needed a wisdom tooth removal. Fortunately for those who do have enough room, wisdom teeth will come through normally and feel like any other tooth. There may be some occasional pain while the teeth are coming through but once the tooth comes in, the pain will stop. So, when is there serious pain and symptoms?

Unfortunately for most people, their jaws are not large enough to accommodate the new teeth coming in. This can lead to impacted wisdom teeth or even infected wisdom teeth.

An impacted wisdom tooth occurs when it is blocked from fully erupting through the gums. This leads the tooth to be at an angle instead or upright. If this happens, it can lead to a variety of additional problems when impacted tooth removal is not done quickly. While it is possible that some impacted teeth cause no pain or problems, some common symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth may include:

Pain and swelling of the gums

Bad breath

Aches in the jaw area

Difficulty opening the mouth

Tenderness around the swollen gum area


If a wisdom tooth is impacted or fails to erupt correctly, this can also lead to infection. Because of the angle of the tooth, brushing and flossing can prove to be difficult. If food and bacteria get caught between the teeth, tooth decay and infection may occur. Like impacted wisdom teeth, an infection can come with a few common symptoms:

Inflamed, tender gum

Pain around infection

Pus coming from the gum

Swollen lymph glands

A sore throat

Difficulty swallowing


Other medical or jaw conditions like TMJ disorder, which 35 million Americans have been diagnosed with, can increase the pain and symptoms associated with problematic wisdom teeth. Luckily, impacted tooth surgery is extremely common and takes care of any painful symptoms caused by wisdom teeth.

Wisdom tooth removal should be scheduled when wisdom teeth become problematic. You may luck out and have plenty of room for your wisdom teeth or even have none at all. But for those who do have them, it’s important to ask your dentist and oral surgeon about wisdom tooth removal. An experienced oral surgeon will be able to address your situation and figure out the best option for alleviating your pain and discomfort.