You wake up one morning with extra bad breath and tender gums. You think it’s nothing at first, but soon it gets a little worse and the pain spreads. These are some signs of a wisdom tooth infection, and if left unattended can cause a serious problem.
Before we jump into symptoms, let’s take a minute to understand some causes of wisdom teeth infections.
Causes of Wisdom Tooth Infection
Wisdom teeth are molars at the back of your mouth and rarely grow in until your late teens to mid-twenties. There are multiple causes of a wisdom tooth infection including:
- Impacted wisdom tooth
- Wisdom tooth cavity
- Wisdom tooth extraction
- Difficulty maintaining dental hygiene
An impacted wisdom tooth is a tooth that does not have enough room to grow in naturally, without complications. Most dentists and oral surgeons remove wisdom teeth before there is a chance of impaction – rather than waiting for an issue to arise. This can be a controversial surgery, as only 12% of impacted teeth result in damage to the adjacent teeth, and less than 10% of our third molars become infected.
A cavity is a damaged area on the surface of the tooth, that develops into a tiny hole or opening. They are also known as tooth decay. According to the Canadian Dental Association, nearly 100% of adults around the globe have tooth decay. This makes tooth decay the most common preventable chronic disease in the world.
Wisdom tooth extraction is the process of having your wisdom teeth removed by a dentist or oral surgeon. Post-surgical complications can arise, resulting in an infection.
Wisdom teeth can occasionally be harder to keep clean, due to the location at the back of the mouth, or a partially erupted tooth that has a sin flap covering part of the molar. Difficulty maintaining dental hygiene can cause infection in your wisdom teeth because of food and/or bacteria getting trapped in the molar, or under the skin flap.
Symptoms of a Wisdom Tooth Infection
Wisdom tooth infections can be identified by:
- Swollen, red or bleeding gums
- Pain or swelling in your jaw
- Bad breath or mouth odour
- Unpleasant or bad taste in the back of your mouth
- Difficulty opening your jaw
If you have experienced any of the causes of a wisdom tooth infection, and have symptoms of an infection, it’s important to find a dentist right away for a consultation. A tooth infection can spread beyond just the wisdom tooth, into the face or neck. This can be very dangerous, so be diligent about daily dental hygiene and caring for your teeth post-extraction.
Though wisdom tooth infections are serious and should not be ignored, they are also almost always able to be treated non-invasively. Some of these treatments can include taking antibiotics, oral rinsing or non-invasive surgery to remove the extra tissue on the molar. These treatments will also lower your risk of further infection.
Find a Dentist Near You
As the advice in this article should not replace the advice of a licensed dentist or oral surgeon, we encourage you to look for dentist offices and services in your area!
Locating a dentist for regular check-ups is as simple as searching for: ‘dentist near me’. There are many dental clinics in Vancouver which offer check-ups, tooth extraction if needed, and regular cleaning. If you’re looking for a dentist in Vancouver or BC, Smile Well Dental is a great option as each one of our dentists, despite having more than 15 years of experience, are well-trained with the newest equipment and dental technology.