Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to emerge in the late teens or early twenties. While they can be valuable for chewing and maintaining proper dental alignment, they can also cause problems if they become infected. Wisdom tooth infection occurs when bacteria enter the surrounding tissue or the tooth itself, leading to pain, swelling, and other symptoms. It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of infected wisdom teeth to seek timely treatment and prevent further complications. In this article, we will discuss the importance of wisdom teeth and provide an overview of wisdom tooth infection.
Common Signs of Infected Wisdom Teeth
When dealing with infected wisdom teeth, it is crucial to be aware of various common signs and symptoms. Below are a few indications that your wisdom teeth may be infected:
- Pain and Swelling in the Back of the Mouth: Infected wisdom teeth often cause pain and swelling in the back of the mouth, particularly around the area where the wisdom teeth are located.
- Difficulty Opening the Mouth Fully: In some cases, infected wisdom teeth can make it challenging to open the mouth fully, causing discomfort and limited mobility.
- Bad Breath and Unpleasant Taste: Infected wisdom teeth can lead to bad breath and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
- Redness and Swollen Gums around the Wisdom Teeth: When wisdom teeth become infected, the gums around the affected area may become red, swollen, and tender.
- Pus or Drainage from the Affected Area: In more severe cases, infected wisdom teeth may cause the formation of pus or drainage from the affected area.
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Less Common Symptoms of Infected Wisdom Teeth
Although pain, swelling, and redness around the affected area are the primary and most frequently observed signs of infected wisdom teeth, there are also several less prevalent symptoms that necessitate attention. The following are a few noteworthy indicators to be mindful of:
- Headache and Jaw Pain: Occasionally, an infected wisdom tooth can give rise to headaches and discomfort in the jaw.
- Earache and Sore Throat: In certain instances, an infected wisdom tooth can induce referred pain, resulting in symptoms like earaches and throat soreness.
- Swollen Lymph Nodes in the Neck: This enlargement occurs as a natural immune system response to combat the infection.
If you experience any of these less common symptoms, it’s significant to consult with a dental professional to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.
Complications of Infected Wisdom Teeth
The following are common complications associated with infected wisdom teeth:
- Peritonitis: This condition emerges when the tissue surrounding the wisdom tooth becomes inflamed and infected. Symptoms include pain, difficulty in mouth opening, and halitosis (bad breath).
- Dental Abscess: An infected wisdom tooth can trigger the development of a dental abscess, characterised by a collection of pus. This can lead to severe pain, swelling, and fever.
- Cellulitis: Cellulitis denotes a bacterial infection affecting the soft tissues surrounding the infected tooth. Symptoms encompass redness, swelling, pain, and swallowing difficulties.
- Osteomyelitis: In severe instances, an infected wisdom tooth can progress to osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone. This condition manifests as persistent pain, swelling, and impaired jaw mobility.
Recognising these signs and symptoms of infected wisdom teeth is crucial, and seeking prompt dental treatment is imperative to prevent further complications.
Prevention and Treatment
In the context of infected wisdom teeth, emphasising prevention is essential. Here are several measures that can aid in averting the onset of infection and alleviating associated symptoms:
Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene: Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, including the area around the wisdom teeth, can help prevent the buildup of bacteria and reduce the risk of infection.
Rinsing with Warm Saltwater Solution: Gently rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain associated with infected wisdom teeth.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help manage the pain and discomfort caused by infected wisdom teeth.
Antibiotics and Dental Procedures: In some cases, antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection. Additionally, dental procedures such as extraction may be recommended to remove the infected wisdom teeth.
Seeking consultation with a wisdom teeth removal dentist or oral surgeon is of utmost importance to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for infected wisdom teeth.