What Are The First Signs of Wisdom Teeth Coming In?

Wisdom teeth typically develop later in a person’s life and may cause complications in oral health. While not everyone suffers from impacted wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth pain, many do. Understanding this problem and how it affects you is essential, especially if you or your child is showing the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in and you aren’t sure what to do. 

We’ll examine multiple vital facts and questions surrounding your wisdom teeth, including wisdom teeth symptoms, the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in your mouth, standard relief options for this pain, and signs that you need to remove your wisdom teeth. When you finish this guide, you will better grasp your oral health and its proper maintenance.

What are Wisdom Teeth, and Why Do We Have Them?

Wisdom teeth are the last to grow and develop in the back of your mouth near adulthood. They’re often called the third molars and work like the other molars in your mouth by grinding the food you eat. While not strictly necessary for oral health, they were likely helpful for ancient humans who ate raw food and needed the extra molars to grind their food. 

As we’ve evolved and our jaws become smaller, wisdom teeth have had less room to develop. One study finds that only 53% of all people still have these teeth in their mouths. Furthermore, many people never develop them at all. They typically grow between the ages of 17 and 25. You’re likely to notice various signs that they’re trying to grow in your mouth. Understanding the first signs of wisdom teeth coming in can ensure you are prepared for them.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth are Coming In 

When you’re between 17 and 25, pay attention to symptoms like swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, jaw pain, trouble opening your mouth, bad breath, and an awful taste. These all indicate that your wisdom teeth are trying to come into your mouth. 

Understanding these and other symptoms of wisdom teeth development is essential to ensure that you take proper oral healthcare steps to keep your teeth strong and safe. Let’s break down more of these symptoms below to learn more about how they affect you.

5 Ways to Tell Your Wisdom Teeth Are Coming In 

When wisdom teeth start coming into your mouth, it’s crucial to track their development properly and track symptoms as they occur. Some people might get lucky and experience only minor discomfort during this process. However, others may need their wisdom teeth removed to help with impacted wisdom teeth and wisdom teeth pain. Pay attention to these wisdom teeth symptoms to stay safe.

#1. Intense Pain Around the Mouth

Even when your wisdom teeth grow successfully, they may cause pain in your mouth. That’s because they often have limited space to grow in your jaw and might press on the jaw and other parts of the mouth painfully. This pain should go away when your teeth successfully finish growing. If not, there’s a good chance you need to remove them.

#2. Gum Irritation

Pericoronitis, gum irritation, or inflammation is a common health problem that can occur while wisdom teeth develop. That’s because they must erupt from your jaw and gums and may cause pain. Eventually, they should fully emerge, and the irritation and inflammation will end. But unfortunately, some wisdom teeth never appear and may cause health issues.

#3. Mouth Odour

As your wisdom teeth erupt into your mouth, you might taste something gross or develop bad breath. This problem occurs when the impacted tooth gets infected or when bacteria grow throughout your mouth and on the wisdom teeth. It will likely go away as your wisdom teeth develop properly in your jaw, though it may linger if not properly managed.

#4. Accidentally Biting Your Cheek or Tongue

People with developing wisdom teeth often bite their cheeks or tongues by accident. As a result, their new teeth may sit awkwardly in their mouth, making it hard to chew properly. They are also not used to these new teeth and must adapt to their presence in the mouth. Thankfully, this issue should decrease frequency when the teeth are correctly settled in the mouth.

#5. Small White Lumps at the Back of Your Mouth

Wisdom teeth trying to erupt from your jaw may create small white bumps along the back, particularly along the gums. They may also cause problems like infection if they partially erupt and food or other items get beneath them. Therefore, overseeing these wisdom teeth symptoms is vital to avoid any issues. In addition, doing so can help you track impacted wisdom teeth and minimize your suffering.

Why Wisdom Teeth Cause Pain

Wisdom teeth can cause pain for many different reasons, including:

  • Impaction: When your wisdom teeth run into other teeth or your jaw, they are impacted and may cause severe pain that is hard to tolerate. 
  • Partial Eruption: In some cases, wisdom teeth may start to grow but get stuck under your gums. They’ll continue to try to grow and can cause severe pain.
  • Tumors or Cysts: In rare cases, you may develop tumors or cysts near your wisdom teeth on the jaw that can cause pain as they grow.

This pain indicates that something has gone wrong with your wisdom teeth and must be removed immediately. Doing so can help protect your oral health.

Signs You Need To Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

While some discomfort is common when developing wisdom teeth, there are multiple signs that you need to remove them as soon as possible. Working with your dentist can streamline this experience and ensure you get the best care possible. Just a few of the most common signs that your wisdom teeth must be removed include:

  • Extreme Pain: While some discomfort and pain are common with wisdom teeth, it should go away with time. If the pain is severe and persistent or worsens the longer your teeth develop, they may be impacted and should be removed to ensure that you’re safe.
  • Teeth Crowding: The most common reason people get wisdom teeth removed is teeth crowding. This problem occurs when there’s not enough room in their mouth for their new molars. It causes severe pain and can even damage your jaw if you aren’t careful.
  • Persistent Cavities: Even if your wisdom teeth grow properly in your mouth, they might trigger continuous cavities that can be hard to manage. That’s because they’re often hard to clean properly and may even impact other teeth in your mouth and cause them cavities until they’re removed.
  • Gum and Jaw Issues: If your jaws experience severe pain or swelling while your wisdom teeth develop, it might be time to remove them. While some minor complications are common, these should go away as your teeth mature. When they persist or worsen, get rid of your wisdom teeth.

Other symptoms include increased sinus pressure caused by wisdom teeth taking up too much room in your jaw. These issues are problematic and require working with a dentist. First, they’ll help prepare you for wisdom teeth removal by discussing this process with you and ensuring you understand it. Then, they’ll provide medications and other support to keep you pain-free before surgery.

Wisdom Tooth Pain Relief & The Importance of Visiting Your Dentist As Soon As Possible

While your dentist will provide pain medications if you experience wisdom tooth pain, you may want alternative care options to minimize your suffering. It is important to immediately see a dentist if you continue to experience pain and think that your wisdom teeth should be removed. They’ll assess the situation and provide care that keeps you safe. Until your teeth are removed, follow these steps:

  • Apply a cold compress to the affected area to reduce swelling and minimize any unnecessary pain you might feel as your wisdom teeth grow
  • Use a hot pack after you apply the cold compress to help your muscles relax and to improve your blood flow through the jaw and mouth
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medication to decrease inflammation in your mouth, such as ibuprofen or other similar over-the-counter medications
  • Rinse with salt water to soothe the inflamed areas and eliminate any infections that might be developing in the area and worsening your pain
  • Use peppermint tea bags directly on the affected areas to provide an anti-inflammatory benefit, as well as a disinfectant to the swollen area
  • Perform simple jaw exercises to work the muscles and to help relieve some of the pressure on the affected area at the back of your mouth
  • Use a prescription painkiller provided for you by your dentist to minimize your pain before your wisdom tooth removal appointment

These methods are helpful because they’re designed as general care steps that just about anybody can manage. They’ll decrease your pain and ensure your mouth is more comfortable. Importantly, they’ll let you care for yourself before you visit a dentist. Severe pain that refuses to go away with these treatments requires the help of a skilled and professional dentist to manage appropriately.

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers is currently a Resident in the Internal Medicine program at UTMB. He studied at the University of Queensland School of Medicine as well as received his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Southern California. His background is in biology, computer science, public health, and internal medicine.

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  1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23223-wisdom-teeth
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/wisdom-teeth-coming-in
  3. https://www.rmperiohealth.com/blog/5-signs-wisdom-tooth-extraction/
  4. https://pickeringsquaredental.com/bad-breath-and-wisdom-teeth-is-there-a-connection/
  5. https://bestdentistinhouston.com/blog/my-wisdom-teeth-are-biting-my-cheeks-what-can-i-do/
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  9. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23223-wisdom-teeth