Your wisdom teeth are actually large teeth located at the back of the mouth. They are usually called the third molars and are the last teeth to grow in, sprouting at 17 to 25 years of age. Just like the rest of your teeth, your wisdom tooth can also decay, become impacted, get a cavity, and get stuck in or below the gum line. A wisdom tooth infection requires treatment by a dentist. However, not all pain leads to a tooth infection. Read as we discuss more about wisdom teeth pain and infection.

Wisdom Tooth Infection Explained

Because they are harder to reach and clean by brushing and flossing, wisdom teeth are at a higher risk of infection. Food and bacteria can get trapped in the spaces between the gums and teeth. A wisdom tooth that is impacted might not correctly grow through the gums. They might grow in at an angle, partially emerge or develop sideways. Partially impacted tooth are at a higher risk for infection.

An infection happens when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in holes in the tooth’s enamel. There are many kinds of bacteria that cause infection in and around the wisdom teeth. There are rare cases where the infection can spread to the other areas of the mouth and even the head. Some of these types of bacteria that cause wisdom tooth infection include Streptococcus, Prevotella, Aggregatibacter, Fusobacterium and Actinomyces.

Wisdom Tooth Infection Treatments

Treatments options for an infected wisdom tooth can include medication for treatment, dental work for repair and surgery for removal. Your dentist will first have to closely examine your wisdom teeth, and take an x-ray of the affected area. From here, he will determine the best procedures and treatment options for the tooth.

Treatment. Antibiotics will clear up an infected wisdom tooth, healing the tooth and preventing the spread of bacteria. This will have to be taken one week before the affected tooth is removed or repaired. Some of the most common prescribed antibiotics include penicillin, clindamycin, amoxicillin and erythromycin. Your dentist will also recommend pain medication, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Repair. Once the infection has cleared up, you will have to see the dentist again to remove or repair the tooth. Fixing a wisdom tooth cavity is the same as fixing any other teeth, usually with a crown or filling. To do so, the dentist will first file down the sides of the tooth, removing rough edges that can trap bacteria or food.

Removal. In the case of a damaged wisdom tooth, the dentist will have to partly or completely remove it. Dental surgery might be needed to remove an impacted wisdom tooth to also prevent future infections. The dentist will remove gum tissue from the top of the impacted wisdom tooth so it can grow through, or they will just remove the tooth’s top part to protect the nerves, roots and the jawbone.

Wisdom Tooth Infection Home Remedies

Home remedies might not treat an infected wisdom tooth, but these simple treatments can give you temporary relief from discomfort and pain. Some of these remedies include salt water rinse, cold compress, clove oil application, hydrogen peroxide rinse, and over-the-counter medication. Make sure to first consult your dentist before using these remedies.

Although it is hard to prevent an impacted wisdom tooth, you can very well help prevent them from getting infected. Make sure that you schedule regular checkups with your dentist to prevent any complications. Also, see your doctor as soon as you can if you experience any pain or discomfort in your mouth. Finally, always ensure good oral hygiene; brushing and flossing regularly can help keep your wisdom teeth from being infected.

Author's Bio: 

The #1 Dentist in Castle Hills of Lewisville, The Colony, Frisco, & Carrollton, TX. We know anxiety and fear are the #1 concerns for all patients. We strive every day to minimize any discomfort or pain, and bring you gentle, dental care for the entire family. Dr. Daniel and his staff at our Castle Hills dental office are passionate about the art of dentistry, and genuinely care about the health and well being of teeth and gums.