Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Wisdom tooth

Wisdom tooth
beginning of content

Wisdom teeth

2-minute read

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth at the end of your upper and lower gums.

Wisdom teeth usually grow through your gums in your late teens or early twenties. Sometimes wisdom teeth can cause pain as they grow through your gums. Sometimes there is not enough room in your mouth for them, so they come through at an angle rather than growing straight, putting pressure on the next tooth or the gum (impaction). They can also be difficult to clean, which in some cases may cause problems such as dental caries and tooth decay.

You may need to have your wisdom teeth removed if they cause problems, for example if they don’t come through properly, grow in a difficult position or cause infections.

Looking after yourself

If your wisdom teeth are coming through (erupting), there are things you can do to look after the area, and to reduce pain and the chance of an infection.

  • It is very important to brush the area thoroughly with a small-headed toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, even if this is uncomfortable. This helps get rid of food and plaque.
  • Warm salt water may help reduce pain. Mix one teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water, then take a mouthful of the liquid and hold it in your mouth so it covers your affected tooth for two minutes, then spit it out. Do not swallow it. Repeat four times a day. If you are in pain, get advice from your pharmacist, doctor or dentist on pain relief medicines you can take, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, or teething gels.
  • Heat and cold packs may also help relieve pain.

If you think your tooth may be getting infected (for example, if you have severe pain or swelling), make an emergency appointment to see your dentist.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2019


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Wisdom teeth - Better Health Channel

betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Wisdom teeth

The third adult molar teeth are commonly called ‘wisdom teeth’. These are the last teeth to appear in the mouth around the age of 18-25 years

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Tooth decay and gum disease

Tooth decay and gum disease are the 2 main types of dental disease, but good oral hygiene can prevent them both.

Read more on WA Health website

Tooth erosion

Tooth erosion can affect people of all ages and is one of the most common dental diseases. It may also be called dental erosion or erosive tooth wear.

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Cleaning between the teeth

Flossing is a key part of your oral health routine and is as important as regular brushing. All you need to know about flossing and how to floss can be found here.

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is performed to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing the tooth from the mouth.

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Dental injuries – tooth loss - Better Health Channel

betterhealth.vic.gov.au

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Dental trauma

Accidents can have quite serious consequences for our teeth. It is important to know how to deal with a dental injury should it occur. Teeth can become cracked, chipped or loose from accidents. Failure to get them checked by your dentist may result in long term damage that could have otherwise been avoided.

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Tooth decay

Tooth decay is one of the most common problems that we can have in our mouths. The good news? It can mostly be prevented by following a healthy diet, regular brushing and flossing and seeing your dentist.

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Gum diseases

Periodontal diseases are a wide range of diseases that affect the gums. The most common types of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis

Read more on Teeth.org.au website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo