An Introduction to Wisdom Tooth Infection
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, can erupt at any age during a person's life, whether it be in their late teens, early 20s, or even later in their lives. The four additional wisdom teeth typically cannot fit in a person's mouth due to space limitations. For this, wisdom teeth frequently emerge at an angle, bumping into other teeth or only partly pushing through the gums. Each of these factors raises the likelihood that the tooth may get infected.
The causes and signs of a wisdom tooth infection are discussed here. Various home remedies and treatments are also described in this article.
Symptoms of Wisdom Tooth Infection
Some typical signs of a wisdom tooth infection are listed below:
- Discomfort near or in the teeth
- Pain on the side of the face or in the jaw
- Swollen or reddish gums surrounding the teeth
- Bad breath
- Having trouble chewing
- Difficulty in opening one's mouth
- Inflamed lymph glands
- If a tooth has been removed by a dentist, there is a white or yellow discharge coming from the extraction site.
Causes of the Disease
Here are a few potential reasons for a wisdom tooth infection or why a wisdom tooth or else the area around it could get infected.
Impaction of the wisdom teeth
A wisdom tooth may only partially or anatomically rise above the gum line. Dental professionals call this impaction. It can happen when there isn't enough room in the mouth for the tooth to fully erupt, which is referred to as overcrowding. An infection can develop around a wisdom tooth that has partially erupted as a result of food particles and plaque accumulating there.
A wisdom tooth that has a cavity could develop an infection. The wisdom teeth can be trickier to clean than other teeth because they are located towards the back of the mouth. Around the wisdom teeth, flossing could be particularly challenging. These teeth are hence particularly prone to cavities which leads to wisdom tooth infection.
Extraction of a wisdom tooth
The process of removal of wisdom teeth is known as wisdom tooth extraction. This method is frequently used to cure or prevent issues brought on by wisdom teeth that are erupting or just partially erupting. At the extraction site, a wisdom tooth infection could appear.
For instance, a retrospective study discovered that 8.4% of individuals who had their wisdom teeth removed afterward experienced issues, such as:
- Bleeding following surgery
- Short-term nerve damage
- A dry socket is a condition where there is no blood clot at the extraction site.
- Over-the-counter painkillers: Within a few days, a mild wisdom tooth infection could go away by itself. A person can use over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) in the meantime. It is advised to avoid placing any painkillers on or close to the tooth as this can lead to damage.
- Anti-bacterial mouthwash: Using an antibacterial mouthwash may provide relief because it can help keep the wisdom tooth infection and related inflammation under control. To get rid of plaque and food particles, it's crucial to gently clean the affected area using a toothbrush.
- Saltwater rinse: For some people, symptoms can be relieved by rinsing with a mild saltwater solution. 1 teaspoon of salt should be added to 1 cup of warm water to create a saltwater solution. Take some of the mixtures in your mouth, swish it around, and then spit it out. This can help keep the area around the wisdom tooth clean if done frequently throughout the day, especially after eating.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix drinking water with hydrogen peroxide in a 1:1 ratio. Make use of this mixture as a mouthwash. Due to its antibacterial properties, hydrogen peroxide will aid in the removal of some surface germs surrounding the infection.
- Cold compress: Over the infected area on the outside of your cheek, apply an ice pack or a cold cloth compress. Swelling and inflammation are reduced by the cold.
- Clove oil: Natural antibacterial oils are found in cloves. Apply clove oil straight on your wisdom tooth with a cotton swab. To reduce swelling and pain, repeat a few times.
When to Consult a doctor
Swelling in the gums around wisdom teeth or pain that are caused by an infection lasting longer than 3–4 days should be treated by a dentist. The dentist will strive to determine the root cause of the wisdom tooth infection and suggest the best courses of action.
Many people wait until they are in excruciating pain or have noticeable swelling before seeking dental care. Emergency care may be required when either of these things occurs.
Several issues can arise from wisdom teeth. They might not have enough space to get through, in which case they might only partially or never fully emerge. This creates the conditions for later issues including cavities and infections.
A wisdom tooth infection commonly manifests as pain and swelling. Visit a dentist if these problems persist for more than a few days even after using home remedies.