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Getting to the Root of Wisdom Tooth Infections

Wisdom teeth often erupt later in life between ages 17-25. When these molars don’t have room to properly emerge or have difficulty breaking the gums, they become vulnerable to infections. The cramped space allows bacteria to easily accumulate around the tooth roots and gums leading to a wisdom tooth infection.

Left untreated, these severely infected wisdom teeth can have painful and harmful ripple effects. Understanding the common signs of an infected wisdom tooth along with treatment options can help make management less complicated.

Top 5 Symptoms of a Wisdom Tooth Infection

An impacted or partially erupted wisdom tooth may start exhibiting the following infected wisdom tooth symptoms that indicate immediate dental attention is required:

  1. Persistent Toothache The number one symptom is acute, throbbing pain around the lower molars that refuses to subside with over-the-counter pain medication. As the nerves in the tooth root become inflamed, the ache can radiate to other areas of the jaw, ear or head.
  2. Swelling Around Jaw A visible swelling of the gums near an impacted wisdom tooth occurs. The swelling is the body reacting to the buildup of bacteria around the tooth roots as nearby tissues become inflamed. Chewing may feel uncomfortable.
  3. Redness or Bleeding of Gums Additionally, you may notice inflamed, red gums near the problematic wisdom tooth site with slight bleeding while brushing teeth or eating on that side. The gums can appear puffy.
  4. Bad Breath or Taste The anaerobic bacteria accumulating in the gumline or a pocket of infection around the wisdom tooth often emits a persistently unpleasant odor and taste in the mouth that brushing won’t fix.
  5. Difficulty Opening Mouth
    As the wisdom tooth region swells and becomes more painful when chewing or biting down, you may avoid opening your mouth fully leading to restricted jaw movement while talking or yawning.

Can a Wisdom Tooth Infection Resolve Itself?

With prompt treatment, most cases of infected wisdom teeth improve quickly. However it’s crucial not to delay seeking attention which allows the problem to rapidly worsen.

While a mild wisdom tooth infection causing minor swelling or discomfort may sometimes clear up briefly on its own, the underlying issue with improper tooth alignment or lack of space usually remains unresolved. Any infection left untreated is likely to return repeatedly, and with greater intensity each time as the tooth decays further.

Additionally, severe infection left unchecked can spread systemically through the bloodstream or facial planes and tissue leading to more alarming dental complications and illness. Addressing symptoms early is key even if they seem to “go away”.

What is the urgency of an infected wisdom tooth?

Technically delaying medical care for a day or two with a mildly infected wisdom tooth causing puffiness and tooth pain isn’t a dire emergency initially. However, postposing treatment too long can convert an easily fixable problem into an urgent issue or dental emergency if the infection worsens, spreads to other teeth or starts impacting your daily function and overall health.

Signs an infected wisdom tooth requires prompt emergency dental treatment include:

  • Severe unbearable pain interfering with sleep, work and eating
  • Pus discharge from gums
  • Difficulty swallowing or opening jaw
  • Chills, fever, numbness or swelling extending behind the jaw

In such cases, contact an emergency dentist immediately for same-day wisdom tooth extraction or antibiotics as leaving the intensifying infection unchecked can have dangerous health consequences.

Expected Duration for a Wisdom Tooth Infection

The timeline for how long an infected wisdom tooth will last depends greatly on receiving appropriate treatment intervention.

With professional dental care like antibiotics or extraction, symptoms should start improving within 1-2 days and clear up entirely in about a week. Lingering symptoms beyond 10 days likely indicates a more serious case of infection or complications.

Without treatment, an infected wisdom tooth with swelling and soreness can progress to a dental abscess within 4-5 days – a pocket of pus and tissue damage requiring urgent care. Severe infections lasting many weeks severely impact normal chewing, swallowing and jaw function.

In Summary: Don’t Delay with Tooth Infections

When wisdom teeth become impacted, their improperly positioned crown and roots underneath the gums make it easy for bacteria and debris to accumulate, igniting episodes of persistent infection and pain. Catching wisdom tooth infections early and following professional guidance for antibiotics or removal is crucial. If left alone for too long, the problem intensifies.

Monitor for the key infected wisdom tooth symptoms like inexplicable toothaches near the back molars, gum swelling and redness, foul tastes and difficulty chewing. Should several of these warning signs emerge, promptly contact your dentist for assessment and next steps rather than waiting it out.With attention and care from your dentist, your symptoms can be mitigated swiftly, preserving your normal oral function and smile. But never ignore or mask an escalating wisdom tooth infection assuming it will “go away” on its own without treatment. By staying ahead of emerging issues, you’ll keep your precious smile happy and healthy. Call Thousand Smiles Dental Clinic for the treatment for wisdom tooth infection.

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