It’s no secret that impacted wisdom teeth can be a nightmare. They’re often infected, and they cause many different symptoms. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most common infected wisdom tooth symptoms, so you know what to watch out for and ask for wisdom teeth removal as soon as possible!
What is a third molar infection?
A third molar or ‘wisdom’ tooth usually erupts between ages 17 and 25. Wisdom tooth infection is a serious complication when bacteria invade this area and spread into the surrounding tissues and bone. The key sign of this condition is swelling and pain in the gum tissue near the site of the impacted wisdom tooth. Other symptoms may include fever, chills, fatigue, and feelings of impaired general wellness. In some cases, these infections can lead to dental cellulitis, a spreading inflammation affecting the deeper layers of skin tissue.
Typical symptoms of tooth infection
Wisdom tooth infection symptoms can be very different. While some people will experience extreme pain, others may not notice anything wrong at all. The most common infected molar symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Dull or sharp pain in the mouth and gums that shoot into other areas of the face
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums or bleeding of any kind after touching the area with your tongue or fingers or brushing teeth (you must not brush your teeth if they are infected)
- Inflammation around the jawline on one side of your face
- Strange taste in your mouth.
In most tooth infections, the impacted wisdom tooth symptoms that you will experience will be from the inflammation in your face. It’s important to note that not all people with an infected wisdom tooth get this symptom. Suppose a person experiences inflammation around their face and jawline on one side with or without pain or other symptoms associated with it. In that case, the dentist should rule out wisdom tooth infection. Consult your dentist to better address the problem.
Fever and chills
A person with an infection of a partially impacted wisdom tooth may develop fever and/or chills. Your immune system fights the infection, and an increase in your body temperature is part of your body’s reaction to this plight. The only way to know if your infection is advanced enough to cause these symptoms is to visit your dentist for a checkup.
Swollen lymph nodes
A rare infected wisdom tooth symptom is swollen lymph nodes located around your jawline, neck, and throat. If you suspect you have an infection of any kind in your mouth or other teeth, it’s always a good idea to let your dentist know, and they may ask for some blood tests just to be sure. Lymph nodes that are swollen or located in different parts of your body (inside crevices such as knees and elbows) could be a sign of another infection altogether and should not be ignored. Also, note that this symptom has little to do with infections in the mouth area itself but more so for infections elsewhere in your body.
It’s important to realize that if you do have an infection of the wisdom teeth or any other teeth, not only will it cause pain and swelling, but it is likely the root cause of bad breath as well. In most cases, a person who experiences swollen gums and/or pus formation from the bacterial infection will also experience bad breath, at least temporarily. While this symptom is normal for those with an infected wisdom tooth, it can also be a sign of gum disease, so it’s always a good idea to contact your dentist immediately if you suspect something else might be going on as well.
Sensitivity in wisdom teeth
One of the more common and less serious impacted wisdom tooth symptoms that may also be linked to an infection of your wisdom teeth (or any other teeth) is sensitivity in that area. Typically, this will only be limited to one side of the face (although this isn’t always the case) and can be felt when you touch around your jawline/area with your fingers or tongue. The pain may not always come from touching, but merely putting pressure on it might make you feel discomfort or even sharp pain.
Nausea and vomiting
Some people who have an infected wisdom tooth may also experience nausea and/or vomiting as part of their infection cycle symptoms. This is a sign that the infection may have already spread to other parts of the body. However, those with swollen gums and pus formation around the area directly near their wisdom teeth will exhibit this symptom. It’s important to note that mouth germs (bacteria) and blood germs (the septic type) can both cause bad breath, swollen glands, and nausea/vomiting as well.
Tenderness around the mouth
Another common infected wisdom teeth symptom is tenderness or pain in that general area. The reason can be attributed to several things, but for those who have an infection, it’s typically due to these factors:
- Nerve endings are highly concentrated in that area, so many people experience such high levels of pain when they suffer from swollen gums and pus formation.
- Pressure on the teeth causes them to feel more sensitive than they normally would (similar to how your fingers might feel when you hit your funny bone).
- The infection (tooth decay) caused by the bacteria near the area where your wisdom teeth (or any other teeth) are located can cause even more pain, leading to elevated soreness levels.
The last of the most commonly known impacted wisdom teeth symptoms are swollen glands. If you’re experiencing pain, tenderness, and swollen gums, there’s a good chance that your glands are going to be swollen as well simply because they’re involved in how your body reacts to what happens elsewhere. We should also note that it’s always a good idea to see a doctor immediately if you suspect an infection or know for a fact that you have one somewhere. You might not need antibiotics, but they should check out what’s going on rather than guess at it.
Unusual discharge from the mouth or ears
There are some signs and symptoms of infected wisdom teeth in rarer cases, including unusual discharge from the mouth or ears. Typically this will be in small amounts, but it can also lead to a fever if you have a pus-filled infection. This is another easy sign to spot because most people with a bad enough infection will also experience throbbing pain around their neck and jaw areas.
Headaches are not as common as some other symptoms, but they can still occur, so they should be noted as something to watch out for. When you feel a headache in conjunction with any other of these impacted wisdom teeth symptoms, it’s worth seeing a doctor as soon as possible since this may indicate something more serious is going on, such as meningitis. Again, people usually experience one symptom, but any combination of these can all point towards an infection and/or swelling.
Red, hot skin
Those with swollen gums may also have red and hot skin around the area. It should be noted that this is typically a severe symptom, so you should always see a doctor as soon as possible if any of these symptoms are present. This can indicate septicemia (blood poisoning) or dental cellulitis (an infection caused by bacteria getting into the tissues). Either way, it’s better to be safe than sorry if something like this happens to you; therefore, make sure your doctor knows how long it’s been since your last checkup, and don’t forget that they need to know all of your symptoms too!
This is typically a sign of infection and inflammation (irritation, swelling, heat, redness, etc.) from a complete or partially erupted wisdom tooth. Please note that this symptom can also be present if you’re having difficulty speaking or swallowing due to the muscles in your throat area being affected as well. If this is the case, you should see a doctor immediately but don’t forget to tell them about all of your symptoms; otherwise, it may not be recognized correctly and treated properly! Medication can take its time to work, so don’t rush yourself and remember that rest and hydration are key.
Painful speaking, swallowing, or breathing
Painful swallowing is another one of the impacted wisdom tooth symptoms and can happen to everyone at some point. However, if you begin experiencing this regularly, it’s best to see a doctor or dentist as soon as possible. This could be a sign that something else is going on, such as swelling or infection, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry! If left untreated, these symptoms may even lead to an abscess that will require more urgent attention.
In the end, if you’ve been having any of these symptoms that infected wisdom teeth can cause or see signs of infection, swelling, tooth decay, and/or inflammation within that general area, it’s important to seek out immediate medical attention or wisdom tooth removal. Although we can effectively treat some infections at home with prescription medications, others require dentist’s care. So don’t hesitate to go in right away if your gums have become extremely swollen or your teeth start hurting a lot more than usual! Experienced dentists can reassure you that everything is well when they’re done checking everything out since they know what to look for. If you need further information or schedule an appointment, do not hesitate to contact your trusted dentist today.
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