Wisdom Tooth Infection: A Guide to Treatment and Relief

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Imagine you’re having a fun day, and suddenly, you feel a sharp pain at the back of your mouth. Ouch! You would never know if it was a wisdom tooth infection until it was diagnosed by a professional. It is also known as pericoronitis. Let’s dive into what this is, how it happens, and why you might have to go for pericoronitis removal near you immediately.

What Are the Symptoms of a Wisdom Tooth Infection (Pericoronitis)?

A wisdom tooth infection can make your mouth feel quite uncomfortable. Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  1. Pain and Swelling: You might feel pain around the back of your mouth, where your wisdom teeth are. Your gums could also swell up and feel tender.
  2. Redness: The area around your wisdom tooth might look red and inflamed.
  3. Bad Taste or Smell: Sometimes, an infection can cause a bad taste in your mouth or even bad breath.
  4. Difficulty Opening Your Mouth: The swelling and pain can make it hard to open your mouth wide.
  5. Fever: In some cases, you might even get a fever if the infection is severe.

What Causes Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis happens when the gum tissue around a partially erupted wisdom tooth gets infected. Here’s why it can happen:

  1. Food Trapping: When a wisdom tooth doesn’t come out completely, it creates a flap of gum tissue. Food particles and bacteria can get trapped under this flap, leading to infection.
  2. Poor Oral Hygiene: Not brushing and flossing well can allow bacteria to build up around your teeth and gums.
  3. Crowding: If there isn’t enough space for the wisdom tooth to come out properly, it can push against other teeth, causing irritation and infection.

How Is Pericoronitis Treated?

If you think you have a wisdom tooth infection, it’s essential to see a dentist. Here are some common treatments:

  1. Cleaning the Area: The dentist will clean around the infected tooth to remove trapped food and bacteria.
  2. Medication: You might be given antibiotics to fight the infection and painkillers to help with the pain.
  3. Removing the Tooth: In some cases, the dentist might suggest wisdom teeth removal to prevent future infections.

What Professional Treatments Exist for Wisdom Tooth Infection?

Dentists have several ways to treat pericoronitis:

  • Antibiotics: These medicines help kill the bacteria causing the infection.
  • Deep Cleaning: A thorough cleaning around the tooth and under the gum flap can remove the irritants.
  • Surgical Removal: If the tooth is causing repeated infections, the dentist might recommend removing it surgically.

Can Home Remedies Help Pericoronitis ?

Home remedies can help manage the symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection, but they’re not a substitute for professional treatment. Here are some things you can try:

  1. Salt Water Rinse: Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help reduce swelling and clean the area.
  2. Ice Pack: Applying an ice pack to the outside of your cheek can help numb the pain and reduce swelling.
  3. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Medicines like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Are There Home Remedies to Relieve Wisdom Tooth Infection Discomfort?

Yes, some home remedies can make you feel better if you have a wisdom tooth infection:

  1. Clove Oil: Applying a little clove oil to the infected area can help numb the pain.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide Rinse: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water and use it as a mouthwash to kill bacteria.
  3. Garlic: Chewing on a piece of garlic or applying garlic paste to the infected area can help because garlic has natural antibacterial properties.

How Does an Impacted Wisdom Tooth Affect Pericoronitis Risk?

An impacted wisdom tooth is one that doesn’t have enough space to come out normally and gets stuck in the gum or bone. It can increase the risk of infection because:

  • Partial Eruption: The tooth may only come out partially, creating a flap where bacteria can grow.
  • Crowding and Pressure: The impacted tooth can press against other teeth, causing pain and making it easier for food particles to get trapped.

Is Gum Infection Around a Wisdom Tooth Different?

Yes, pericoronitis is specifically an infection of the gums around a partially erupted wisdom tooth. It’s different from other gum infections because:

  1. Location: It happens at the back of the mouth, around wisdom teeth.
  2. Causes: It’s often caused by trapped food and bacteria under a gum flap.
  3. Symptoms: It can cause wisdom tooth gum pain, swelling, and difficulty opening your mouth.

What to Expect During Recovery and Follow-Up After Wisdom Tooth Infection Treatment?

After treatment, you’ll need to take care of your mouth to help it heal:

  1. Follow Instructions: Follow the dentist’s instructions carefully. It might include taking all your antibiotics and avoiding certain foods.
  2. Soft Foods: Eat soft foods that won’t irritate your gums, like yogurt, mashed potatoes, and soups.
  3. Oral Hygiene: Keep your mouth clean by brushing gently and using mouthwash.
  4. Follow-Up Visits: Go back to the dentist for follow-up visits to make sure the infection is gone and to check if the wisdom tooth needs to be removed.

How Can I Prevent Pericoronitis?

Preventing a wisdom tooth infection involves good oral hygiene and regular dental visits:

  • Brush and Floss: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to remove food particles and plaque.
  • Regular Dental Checkups: Visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
  • Watch for Symptoms: If you notice any pain or swelling around your wisdom teeth, see the dentist right away.

Why See a Dentist for Wisdom Tooth Infection?

Seeing a dentist is important because:

  • Professional Cleaning: The dentist can clean areas you can’t reach with your toothbrush.
  • Proper Diagnosis: They can diagnose the infection correctly and provide the right treatment.
  • Prevent Complications: Early treatment can prevent more serious problems, like spreading infection or damage to other teeth.

Contact Inglewood Family Dental

Wisdom tooth infections, or pericoronitis, can be painful and uncomfortable, but they are treatable. By understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments, you can take steps to manage and prevent this condition. Remember, good oral hygiene and regular visits to a  dentist near you are your best defences against wisdom tooth infections. 

If you ever feel pain or swelling around your wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to see our dentist at Inglewood Family Dental. Our expert dental team is here to help you keep your smile healthy and pain-free.


About Author

Dr. Arash Ravanbakhsh is a skilled Calgary dentist passionate about oral health. Graduating from the University of Alberta, he brings advanced dental knowledge to Inglewood Family Dental. Dedicated to patient care, Dr. Arash also volunteers his time on dental missions, improving oral health globally.