Wisdom Tooth Infection: Signs, Symptoms & Treatments

'Wisdom Tooth Infection What are the causes of wisdom tooth infections? What are the symptoms and signs of a wisdom tooth infection? How to treat an infected wisdom tooth? How to prevent wisdom tooth infections?

Anyone who has ever suffered from a painful wisdom tooth infection will tell you it’s best to avoid this situation altogether. The pain associated with a wisdom tooth infection can be extreme and should be treated quickly to avoid further complications. Having an infected wisdom tooth is a common symptom associated with impacted wisdom teeth.

What are the Causes of Wisdom Tooth Infections?

Impacted wisdom teeth occur when your third set of molars, otherwise known as wisdom teeth, don’t erupt properly or all the way. When a wisdom tooth erupts only partially, the opening can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in a wisdom tooth infection.

Otherwise known as pericoronitis, a wisdom tooth infection is serious and can be a bit tricky to treat. That’s because when your wisdom teeth don’t erupt all the way, a flap of gum will cover where the partial eruption started. Your wisdom tooth infection is unlikely to heal until this flap of gum is removed, your wisdom tooth erupts all the way, or the wisdom tooth is extracted.

What are the Symptoms and Signs of a Wisdom Tooth Infection?

When you experience a wisdom tooth infection, you may feel pain in or around the tooth. Your jaw or the side of the face may also hurt. The result of an infected wisdom tooth is fever, swollen lymph glands, as well as bad breath. As the first sign of wisdom tooth infection, you may notice red and inflamed gums near the teeth and gum swelling.

Other symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection:

  • Difficulty opening mouth
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Pus coming from the gum
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Stiff jaw
  • Headaches on the infected side
  • Sore throat

If the wisdom tooth infection is severe, there is a risk of spreading this infection throughout the mouth, jaw, and upper respiratory system. Sometimes the infection may cause sepsis – an extreme immune response to an infection.

How to Treat an Infected Wisdom Tooth?

There are numerous ways to treat wisdom teeth infection, including a conservative approach to treatment or surgical extraction. If your wisdom teeth have erupted without problems, your dental professional may choose to leave them in and watch them over time.

  1. The Conservative Approach: If you begin to experience pain caused by wisdom teeth infection, your dental professional or oral surgeon may recommend a conservative approach to treatment such as using over-the-counter pain relievers, antibiotics for the infection, mouthwashes, or saltwater rinses. Regardless of whether or not you choose surgery, you should still visit a dental professional if you think you have a wisdom tooth infection. In the meantime, you can use an ice pack to reduce swelling, rinse with saltwater, or take some over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or aspirin. These methods can be effective for individuals with certain health problems such as a bleeding disorder who prefer not to undergo surgery. However, if your wisdom teeth infection worsens, surgery may become your best chance for relief.
  2. The Surgical Approach: Surgical extraction is a common method for avoiding complications such as wisdom teeth infection. Since approximately 85 percent of all wisdom teeth need to be removed, many dental professionals will recommend extraction to prevent further wisdom tooth infection. If you are not a candidate for surgery, or if you prefer to avoid it, there may be other treatment options.

How to Prevent Wisdom Tooth Infections?

Not every wisdom tooth infection may be prevented, but you can take some steps to help protect your smile from plaque bacteria and infection. Here’s what you can do to help reduce the risk of wisdom tooth infection:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each session paying attention to the farthest molars with an anticavity toothpaste like Crest Gum Detoxify Deep Clean Toothpaste. The activated foam formula penetrates hard to reach places to neutralize harmful plaque bacteria even around the gum line.
  • Floss your teeth daily reaching the very end of your mouth.
  • Add a mouthwash like Crest Pro Health Multi Protection to your daily oral routine.
  • Visit your dental professional at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups.


  1. http://scienceline.org/2007/02/ask-cooper-wisdomteeth/
  2. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/wisdom-teeth/basics/definition/con-20026676


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