It’s been years since many of us have had teeth grow in. For the most part, we’ve lost all of our baby teeth by age 13, living the next years of our life giving little thought to our teeth, other than our oral hygiene.
However, between the ages of 17 and 21, many of us have to experience the emergence of our third molars, also known as our wisdom teeth. These new teeth can cause pain and pressure as they make their way through our gums, even if they are coming in normally and aligning with our other molars. When and if that pain begins, we have a couple of solutions to apply directly to the area that’s hurting to help you find relief.
Swish Salt Water
When you have a sore throat, you may have been told to swish warm salt water in your mouth. For tooth pain, this old wives’ tale does come in handy. The warm water can dissolve the salt, which when swished can help clear debris from around your teeth, helping reduce swelling while drawing out any infection that could be lurking.
Use Cloves Or Clove Oil
Suggested by the Mayo Clinic, cloves or clove oil has serious pain relieving power that could come in handy if your wisdom teeth are beginning to bother you. Eugenol, the scientific name for clove oil, is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial pain reliever that causes a numbing effect to the area where it’s applied. When using clove oil, it’s suggested that you never apply the oil directly to the tooth or the gums. It’s best to apply clove oil to a cotton ball and then placing that on the teeth that are painful, letting the cotton bowl stay lodged there until the pain goes away. If you have a whole clove (never cut or dice them!), place it on top of the tooth or in the region that’s causing discomfort and let it sit there for up to 30 minutes or until the pain subsides.
Before going the painkiller or prescription route, benzocaine is a topical option that numbs the entire area it’s applied to. Different brands make benzocaine, and you can typically find it in your grocer’s pharmacy section. If you decide to try it, it’s best that you dry the area of your mouth where the gel will be applied. This allows the medication to have a better chance of being dissolved into the intended area instead of being washed away by your mouth’s saliva.
Drawing the Line: When Home Remedies Aren’t Enough
In some cases, wisdom teeth can come in perfectly normal, just as our other molars did. When that happens, those teeth will simply aid in chewing, having caused no misalignment or damage to surrounding teeth.
Many Americans, however, will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. Unlike our other adult teeth, wisdom teeth have a higher chance of coming in at strange angles, sometimes even coming in completely sideways. This may cause the teeth never to emerge, which is what your dentist would call being impacted, where the teeth remain under your gums. When wisdom teeth come in this way, there is cause for concern. The growth of these teeth can push other teeth forward, crowding the mouth and causing pain. Other times the submerged teeth can become infected, causing inflammation and jaw pain.
Wisdom teeth do not always need to be extracted, but if yours are beginning to cause you discomfort, it could be time to have them removed. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mogren, give our office a call or schedule your appointment online today!