Are you suffering from a toothache? The majority of active tooth decay and dental issues stem from pain in at least one of your teeth. This can eventually lead to infection, decayed teeth, and lost teeth.
If you suspect a tooth infection, the best idea is to see a dentist as soon as possible. However, sometimes you miss warning signs, whether through a toothache or another ailment. If you suspect something more is going on, it’s good to know wisdom tooth infection symptoms.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about when to see a dentist regarding pain in your mouth.
Understanding Wisdom Teeth
Before you can determine if a wisdom tooth infection is present, it’s essential to understand what wisdom teeth are and where they’re located. These molars are found in the back of your mouth, both in the upper and lower jaws.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on top and two on bottom. They’re sometimes called third molars, as they’re the last teeth to emerge. They often grow between the ages of 17 and 25.
Many people will have their wisdom teeth removed due to overcrowding or impaction, where the tooth doesn’t fully emerge from the gums. These situations can lead to infection if bacteria get trapped under the gum line.
Common Wisdom Tooth Infection Symptoms
When a wisdom tooth becomes infected, it’s essential to recognize dental infection indicators so you can seek treatment as soon as possible. Here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:
Pain and Swelling
This is often the first sign of an infection. The pain may be constant, or it might come and go. It can also vary in intensity, but it tends to worsen over time. The area around the wisdom tooth may also become swollen and tender to the touch.
Difficulty Opening Mouth
In some cases, the infection can cause swelling that makes it difficult to open your mouth fully. This can make eating and even talking uncomfortable.
Bad Breath or Unpleasant Taste in the Mouth
An infected wisdom tooth can cause bad breath, also known as halitosis. This is due to bacteria and pus in the mouth. You might also notice an unpleasant taste.
Red or Swollen Gums
The gums around the infected tooth may become red, swollen, and tender. In severe cases, you might see pus coming out from the gums.
Fever and General Illness
Infections can cause systemic symptoms like fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. If your body feels sick or “off,” and you have any other symptoms listed, you might have a wisdom tooth infection.
An infected wisdom tooth can make chewing painful and difficult. This can lead to decreased appetite and poor nutrition if not treated promptly.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you must see your dentist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. They may take X-rays to determine the extent of the infection and recommend a treatment plan accordingly.
Delaying treatment can lead to more severe complications and further damage to your teeth and gums. This can also result in more invasive and costly procedures to resolve the issue.
Causes of Wisdom Tooth Infections
There are several potential causes for a wisdom tooth infection. These include the following:
Food Particles Trapped in the Gum
When a wisdom tooth doesn’t fully emerge, it can create a small pocket where food particles can get stuck. The bacteria from these particles can cause an infection.
Crowding of Teeth
If there isn’t enough space in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to emerge properly, they can become impacted or partially erupt. This can create an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive and lead to infection.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Neglecting proper oral hygiene can lead to plaque buildup. This can irritate the gums and cause an infection.
Pre-existing Gum Disease
If you already have gum disease or periodontal pockets, bacteria can quickly enter the gums and cause an infection in the wisdom tooth area. This is why it’s essential to address any gum disease before wisdom teeth removal.
Weakened Immune System
A weakened immune system due to illness or medication can make you more susceptible to infections in your mouth, including wisdom tooth infections.
If you have any risk factors for wisdom tooth infections, you must be aware of the symptoms and take extra care to maintain good oral hygiene. Make sure to brush and floss regularly and visit your dentist for regular check-ups.
Treatment Options for Wisdom Tooth Infections
The treatment for a wisdom tooth infection will depend on the severity and cause of the infection. Here are some common treatment options:
If your dentist determines that your infection is minor, they may prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection and prevent it from spreading. This is typically combined with other treatments to address the underlying cause of the infection.
In more severe cases, where your teeth are impacted or damaged beyond repair, your dentist may recommend wisdom teeth extraction. This involves surgically removing the infected tooth and any surrounding debris.
If the infection has reached the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be necessary to remove the infected tissue and save the tooth. This involves removing the infected pulp and cleaning and disinfecting the inside of the tooth. This is usually followed by a crown to protect the tooth and restore its function.
Warm Salt Water Rinses
In mild cases, your dentist may recommend warm salt water rinses to help reduce swelling and pain. This can also help keep the area clean and prevent further infection.
It is essential to follow your dentist’s instructions for post-treatment care. This can include taking prescribed medication, keeping the area clean, and avoiding hard or sticky foods that can irritate the extraction site.
Recognize the Signs and Take Action Today
It is essential to know wisdom tooth infection symptoms to catch it early and seek proper treatment. The pain and discomfort associated with these infections can be unbearable, but with this guide, you can recognize the signs and take action.
Don’t wait! Schedule a dental check-up if you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, and take the first step towards a healthier smile today!
Did this tooth infection symptoms guide help you get a better understanding of your oral health? If so, check out the rest of our blog for more helpful health content!