With one of my upper wisdom teeth it came through just as you described, bit by bit. I'd go a few weeks with no pain and then it would start up again. I managed the pain with otc medicines (Excedrin helped me the most) but eventually it just got too painful and I had it extracted. I recently had my bottom wisdom teeth taken out, too. I didn't wait for them to surface b/c one was coming in sideways. Hope you feel better soon and good luck if you decide to get them pulled!