What is Wisdom Tooth Infection along with its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment?

Wisdom tooth in medical terms is also known as the third molars. These are the third and final set of the molars that most people get in the age of 18 – 25 years. Most of the times these teeth are not aligned properly and are unable to erupt or come in the oral cavity and can lead to various problems. Let’s move towards two simple questions which come in your mind.

How many wisdom teeth are there?

There are a total of four wisdom teeth present in the oral cavity, one on each corner of the upper and lower jaw.

At what age wisdom teeth erupt?

Normally the age range is between 18 to 24 years. But because of the different pattern of growth of each individual, this can erupt even 2-3 years later than the upper range. ie, 27 or 28.

Wisdom tooth infection

What is Wisdom Tooth Impaction

The wisdom tooth impaction means incomplete or partial eruption of the wisdom tooth because of any hinderance like gums, another tooth, etc into the oral cavity which leads to pain and several problems related to it like wisdom tooth infection.

wisdom tooth impaction

Causes of Impaction

In ancient times, when the human diet was much more coarse and hard, at that time due to the constant usage of the jaw strength, the jaw sizes were large and hence the teeth get proper space to erupt. But with the change in diet system and evolution of various habits, the amount of stress and work done by jaws in chewing food are much less, which leads to the small sizes of the jaw and it causes teeth impaction or we can say improper eruption of the wisdom tooth.

The impacted teeth can erupt at an angle towards the adjacent tooth, which can put pressure and also can damage the adjacent tooth.

It can also be grown in such a way, that the growth is away from the adjacent tooth and toward the bony margins of the jaw. Or it might also grow upright at a normal angle but is unable to erupt in the oral cavity due to the coverage of the soft tissue and the bone.

Complications which can arise due to Wisdom Tooth Impaction

Damage to the other tooth

The wisdom tooth can damage the adjacent tooth, it occurs by application of pressure towards the adjacent tooth. This damage can even cause the breakage of the adjacent tooth or the formation of caries in the adjacent tooth due to the food accumulation.

Cyst

Sometimes, the impacted tooth forms the cyst ie, the formation of the sac within the jaw bone surrounding the root of the tooth, causing the damage to the jaw bone.

Decay

As previously discussed the accumulation of the food particles leads to the formation of the bacterias and this will lead to the decay of the partially erupted tooth itself and also the tooth adjacent to it.

Gum Disease

The difficulty in cleaning of the tooth leads to the accumulation of the food particles surrounding the gum tissue and this will lead to the swelling of the surrounding gum tissue and also leads to immense pain.

What is Wisdom Tooth Infection

Pericoronitis

The infection which occurs in relation to the unerupted or the partially erupted or in medical terms, we say impacted wisdom tooth is known as the wisdom tooth infection. In medical terms, the wisdom tooth infection is known as the pericoronitis.

It is related to the swelling and pain in relation to the impacted wisdom tooth. Along with swelling, there can also be

Symptoms

  • Presence of redness
  • Difficulty in chewing food
  • Trismus or Difficulty in opening mouth
  • Bad breath (due to bacterial accumulation)

The pain related to this tooth is very severe and deep, and it has a tendency to radiate ie, to travel to other teeth and surrounding areas.

Causes of Wisdom Tooth Infection

Improper growth or partial eruption of the wisdom tooth allow an opening for the food accumulation, this leads to the formation of the bacterias and leads to the infection. Improper cleaning of the wisdom tooth area can also easily leads to the infection.

Symptoms of Infection

  • Redness of gums surrounding wisdom tooth.
  • Swelling at the wisdom tooth area.
  • Bleeding in gums surrounding wisdom tooth.
  • Jaw pain, severe deep pain.
  • Bad breath, due to the bacterial accumulation.
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth.
  • Trismus ie, difficulty in opening of the mouth.

Treatment for infected wisdom tooth

The Initial treatment ie, conservative management is given by your dentist for the wisdom tooth infection.

Firstly, the patient is prescribed several medications for the relieve of the symptoms, these Medications given are, antibiotics such as amoxicillin or azithromycin are preferred for the management of the infection. And for pain management, proper analgesics are given.

The dose of medicine depends upon the severity of the infection. Along with this warm saline rinses or chlorhexidine mouthwash can also be prescribed for better rinsing of the wisdom tooth area. This is the initial management for the infection but the ultimate solution for the problem in case of reoccurrence is the surgical removal of the wisdom tooth.

Surgical Approach

If the infection reoccurs again and again, then the oral and maxillofacial surgeons are contacted for planning the surgical removal of the wisdom tooth.

Surgical treatment of wisdom tooth

The procedure is done under the local anesthesia. Because of the bone surrounding the wisdom tooth, it is unable to come out, that’s why the bone is removed and then the wisdom tooth is removed. The procedure takes more time than the normal extraction. Sutures are also placed after completing the procedure as the gum tissue is cut to reach the bone.

Post Operative Care

After surgery a pressure pack is placed at the surgical site, this must be placed for at least one hour after the tooth removal. Then just take it out and throw it away and have some cold and soft food, and take medicines as prescribed. More things to follow are

  • The patient must not spit or rinse or apply any pressure over the extracted site up to 24 hours.
  • Patient must have soft and cold food up to 24 hours.
  • No smoking and alcohol for 7 days at least after the removal of the impacted tooth.
  • After 24 hours the patient can start warm saline rinses 3 times a day to make the area clean.
  • After one week visit your doctor for suture removal (if non-resorbable sutures are used) and checking the progress of the healing process.
  • The most important point here is to take care of oral hygiene properly otherwise it will lead to other complications.

What if the Infections occurs after the Wisdom Tooth Removal

After the wisdom tooth removal, the person must take care of the oral hygiene properly and must follow the instructions given by the dentist properly, otherwise, it will lead to the infections and other complications like dry socket (due to lack of blood clot formation the bone is exposed and it leads to immense pain).

Causes for Complications

Smoking

The smoking causes the dislodgement of the blood clot from the tooth removal site and the bleeding do not stop and it can lead to the complication called dry socket. If you want to know more about the dry socket, let us know in the comment section below.

Drinking Alcohol

This will hinder the healing process and also will not allow the stoppage of bleeding and also hinder the clot formation process.

Poor Oral Hygiene

It will lead to an increased number of the bacterias and will cause the infection in relation to the tooth removal site.

Eating Hard Food

It will lead to increased pressure over the tooth removal site and can lead to delayed healing and infection also, as the food particles can enter the extraction site.

Hot Drinks after the Extraction

Hot drinks are not allowed for 24 hours after the removal of the tooth because it will lead to the dissolution of the blood clot and continued bleeding will occur from the extraction site and can lead to other complications.

Symptoms of the Infection after the Wisdom Tooth Removal

  • Redness of the gum tissue
  • Swelling of tooth removal site
  • Pain regarding tooth removal area
  • Pus coming from the gum tissue
  • Swelling at lymph nodes ie under the jaw
  • Difficulty in the opening mouth (trismus)
  • Difficulty in swallowing due to swelling and pain
  • Fever (due to the occurrence of infection)
  • Bad breath( due to bacterial accumulation)

Cure for the Infection of Extracted Site

The extracted site will be thoroughly cleaned by your dentist with saline and betadine. The temporary cotton dressing can also be given to the site.

For infection, antibiotics can be prescribed and mostly painkillers are prescribed to relieve the pain and discomfort.

Dry socket

It is said to be dry socket when the pain occurs at the site of the tooth removal even after the week of extraction or removal of the tooth.

The treatment deals with the symptomatic relief, irrigation of the site with saline and betadine is done and then the analgesic dressing (which will relieve pain) is placed inside the socket and the socket is allowed to heal. This dressing is replaced in a few days to the complete healing occurs. Additionally, pain killers can also be prescribed if the pain is severe.

Usually, the dry socket gets healed when the tissue normally covers the bone, after that normal healing occurs.

That was all about the wisdom tooth infection, if you want to know more about any topic or have any doubt or wanted to share your experience regarding this then you can comment in the comment section below.

Dr Deepak Kansal

Dr Deepak Kansal is a dentist, who is currently working in Sri Ganganagar. He did his Bachelor of Dental Surgery from Rajasthan University of Health Science.

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