Wisdom Teeth Removal Aftercare
After having your wisdom teeth removed, follow your dentist or oral surgeons instructions carefully.
The spaces, or sockets, where your wisdom teeth used to be will form blood clots after surgery. These blood clots will need time and gentle care to heal properly and form new, healthy tissue.
Your oral surgeon will likely prescribe antibiotics to keep infection at bay while your mouth heals. Take the medication as directed. They may also give you a pharmaceutical-grade mouthwash, such as chlorhexidine.
You may be in pain for a few days once the anesthesia wears off. In some cases, your dentist or oral surgeon might prescribe you a pain medication.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will probably advise you to avoid the following during recovery:
- Strenuous exercise
- Drinking through a straw
- Eating hard or crunchy foods
Take these and any other instructions seriously. Otherwise, youll risk disturbing the blood clots in the back of your mouth.
If the blood clot in a tooth socket is damaged or dislodged, you may develop a painful condition known as a dry socket. This causes the underlying bone and nerves to be exposed to air, which can lead to infection.
A dry socket is treatable. Still, you can avoid it altogether by following your doctors post-surgical instructions.
A week or so after your wisdom tooth removal, pain should subside. You will have a follow-up appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon around this time.
In this article
What Can Damage Your Wisdom Teeth
Of course, any sort of trauma, be it biting down on hard candy or taking a blow to your face, can cause a molar to break. But surprisingly, the actual eruption of your wisdom teeth typically between your late teens and early 20s can cause breakage for these reasons:
- Its neighboring molar might be over the spot where the wisdom tooth strives to emerge.
- It might erupt at an odd angle.
- It might have been damaged pre-eruption.
Also, if you experience an easy eruption, but your wisdom tooth ends up rotting because of decay, its more prone to break.
Infected Wisdom Tooth Symptoms
When you get an infection in a wisdom tooth or in the gum around the wisdom tooth it can be tough to know if its an infection because the symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection can also be symptoms of other problems. A good rule of thumb is to assume that if you have two or more of the following symptoms it could be an infection, and if you have three or more of these symptoms¹ see your doctor or dentist right away to see if you do have an infection and need treatment. Some of the most common infected wisdom tooth symptoms are:
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Why Do Wisdom Teeth Get Infected
The main reason why wisdom teeth get infected has to do with their position. Because they are located all the way in the back of the jaw, they are much harder to brush and floss. As a result, bacteria can accumulate in much greater amounts, which can lead to an infection.
Another reason why wisdom teeth are more likely to get infected is that some jaws simply do not have the space for them. As such, when these teeth begin to emerge in adulthood, they can become trapped in the jaw or under the gumsâa condition referred to as impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth that donât fully emerge can give bacteria more space to enter the gums, increasing the chances of an infection forming.
Sometimes, your wisdom teeth can emerge in the wrong position. If theyâre too close to the molars, then they might be hard to clean and cause bacteria to get trapped between these tight spaces. In addition, they can cause damage to neighboring teeth, which is another factor that increases the chances of a bacterial infection.
Because a tooth infection can have serious consequencesâboth for the infected tooth and your overall healthâit is important to recognize it so you can get it treated as soon as possible. In the following section, weâll cover some of the most common symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection so that you can quickly get to your dentist for treatment.
Symptoms Of A Tooth Infection Spreading To The Rest Of The Body
Did you know that you can die from a toothache? That’s a sobering thought.
Most of the time toothaches are caused by infections that are merely painful inconveniences. But if the infection worsens and spreads to the rest of the body, it can be serious. For a small number of people, it’s even deadly.
To avoid this happening to you, you can simply learn the symptoms of a tooth infection spreading to the body. Then you’ll know when to seek immediate medical attention for your annoying toothache.
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When To Worry About A Tooth Infection
If you suspect you have a dental abscess, dont wait until it ruptures to seek treatment. Dental infections should be treated promptly to prevent the spread of the infection.
Common symptoms of a dental infection that requires urgent dental care include:
- Noticeable sore under the gums
- Swelling and inflammation near the affected tooth
- Bad taste in the mouth
- A severe, throbbing toothache that doesnt go away
- Swollen and painful lymph nodes in the neck
- Pain when chewing or biting down
Tooth abscesses are dental emergencies. They need to be drained by a professional quickly to prevent spreading. A noticeable sore and severe, throbbing pain are the most common symptoms.
Pus In Your Mouth Or Gums
You also might see pus when youre brushing your teeth or if you look in your mouth. If the infection is deep inside a wisdom tooth, you likely wont see anything. But if the infection is in the gum or near the surface of the tooth you may break or push on the abscess when you brush your teeth which will leave some pus on your toothbrush or visible inside your mouth. Anytime you see or taste pus you likely have an infection.
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Treating Wisdom Tooth Infection
If youre showing signs of wisdom tooth infection, prompt treatment is crucial. Wisdom tooth infections can spread throughout the mouth and even to other parts of the body if this occurs, you may need to be hospitalized. Treatment of wisdom tooth infection typically involves cleaning the area to remove bacteria and food debris and a course of oral antibiotics, followed by wisdom tooth extraction once the infection has resolved.
How Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth Treated
If your impacted teeth are causing pain, infection or other dental damage, wisdom teeth removal is usually recommended. Many dentists recommend this oral surgery procedure as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of problems in the future.
Are impacted teeth more painful to remove?
While impacted wisdom teeth are generally more difficult to remove, the process isnt necessarily more painful. Your dentist or oral surgeon will give you pain relievers to manage any post-operative discomfort.
What are the risks and complications of wisdom teeth removal?
Like any surgical procedure, wisdom teeth removal comes with some potential risks and complications, including:
- Dry sockets. This happens when the blood clot from surgery becomes dislodged from your tooth socket prematurely , exposing your bone. You can reduce the risk of dry sockets by avoiding drinking through straws after your wisdom teeth removal.
- Infection. Sometimes bacteria, food or debris can become trapped in the tooth socket, resulting in an infection. Your dentist or oral surgeon can prescribe antibiotics to treat an oral infection.
- Damage to nearby structures. Sometimes your nerves, jawbone, sinuses or other teeth can become damaged during wisdom teeth removal. Advanced surgical techniques reduce the risk of these injuries, but they can still happen. Additional oral surgery procedures may be necessary to address this type of damage.
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How Do You Know If A Wisdom Tooth Is Infected
Sudden pain and swelling at the back of your mouth can be alarming its most likely due to an infected wisdom tooth.
Whats wise about having wisdom teeth? Lots. Theyre your third and final molars and spring up when youre in your late teens or sometimes later, such as in your mid-20s. Theyre so called because its assumed you have a bit more knowledge, and wisdom, by then, compared to when you were a toddler and your baby teeth fell out and were replaced with permanent ones.
The job of molar teeth whose name comes from the Latin molaris dens, or millstone tooth is to aid the chewing process by grinding up food and making it suitable for digestion. Over time, they have become developed in all kinds of mammals, including humans, but, unfortunately, when they start erupting, things dont always go according to plan.
They can come in at wrong angles and cause trouble with other teeth, or become infected. Many people have their wisdom teeth removed because of this, and dont suffer any consequences by not having them, as their remaining molars are sufficient for grinding food. So how do you know if a wisdom tooth is infected? Lets take a look at the signs.
An Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Impaction happens when a persons jaw has insufficient room for a wisdom tooth to erupt, in a situation referred to as tooth crowding.
Wisdom teeth may only emerge partially from the gum line or they can become trapped beneath it.
Either way, this can lead to inflammation of the gums and infection around the wisdom teeth. Sometimes soft tissue forms over the partially erupted wisdom tooth and is known as an operculum.
An operculum isnt always good for your mouth because it tends to trap food particles causing bacteria to thrive. This, in turn, causes an infection which is often followed by an abscess that forms beneath the operculum. If the abscess isnt treated, the infection spreads and progresses into pericoronitis. In severe cases, this can be extremely painful leaving the patient to call for an emergency dentist.
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How Wisdom Teeth Get Infected
Wisdom tooth infection because of the following reasons:
1) Firstly, difficulty in cleaning because of their position in the mouth. Early stage wisdom tooth infection, without proper cleaning, bacteria gets easy access to the area surrounding the teeth. Brushing and flossing the in-between and the posterior area of the wisdom teeth is often missed. This becomes the reason for the occurrence of the infection.
2)Secondly, the wisdom tooth mostly erupts partially into the oral cavity because of minimal space available in the arch, or sometimes at an angle to the normal expected development, and sometimes completely sideways. Because of this irregularity in shape and their angle, there is a higher risk of infection and decay. Bacteria gain easy access to such teeth which further leads to the formation of a cavity, causing infection.
The infection surrounding the impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth is commonly known as pericoronitis. Pericoronitis is the inflammation of the soft tissues that surround the partially erupted teeth which include the gingiva and the dental follicle. Symptoms for pericoronitis include severe pain around the teeth, swelling of the gum tissue, and further, if not kept clean and left untreated may lead to pus discharge and trismus . Also, in the long term, it may become the reason for bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.
Ways To Prevent A Wisdom Tooth Infection
Even if you donât have a wisdom tooth infection, having wisdom teeth significantly increases your chances of developing one. For this reason, itâs a good idea to practice the proper prevention techniques to make sure you donât end up getting one. Here are some tips to follow to prevent a wisdom tooth infection:
- Practice good oral hygiene: Although itâs very common advice, many individuals fail to brush and floss their teeth properly. Additionally, our wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth, so they have a greater chance of being neglected. Make sure that you keep them as clean as possible to prevent an infection.â
- Avoid eating sugar: Eating too much sugar is one of the leading causes of tooth decay. This is because the bacteria that lead to tooth decay feed primarily on sugarâas such, consuming less of it can significantly lower your chances of developing a bacterial infectionâespecially around the harder-to-reach wisdom teeth.â
- See your dentist regularly: Aside from getting regular cleanings, visiting your dentist is important as they can identify tooth decay in its early stages. Because tooth decay can increase your chances of getting a tooth infection , itâs important to catch it as early as possible. So, make sure to see your dentist at least once every six months.
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Risks From Having A Broken Wisdom Tooth
Bacteria can thrive in gaps where bits of the tooth broke. A gap in a wisdom tooth is a hospitable environment for an infection and a weak point in the tooth.
Additionally, a broken or cracked wisdom tooth puts the entire tooths health at risk. Bacteria can invade the tooth and infect the dental pulp. In those cases, the tooth must either be extracted or given a root canal treatment. In most cases, its better just to remove the tooth.
It is essential to see your dentist quickly if you have a broken wisdom tooth. Your dentist will carry out an assessment and tell you if you should have a wisdom tooth extraction.
Although it is possible to fill a broken tooth, or repair it using a crown, you will want to consider removing your wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth usually do not bring any real benefits to your mouth, but they can increase the chances of breakages and infections.
Swollen Or Painful Gums
Sometimes the infection starts with the wisdom tooth but enters the gum around the tooth. An infected gum will likely be swollen, red, and very painful if you press on it or touch it with your finger or a toothbrush.¹ It may also be swollen because there is an abscess filled with pus but that is for a dentist to determine.
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When To See Your Dentist
Not all toothaches become serious health concerns. But if youre experiencing a toothache, its best to get treatment before it gets worse.
- pain when chewing or biting
If you have a broken tooth or if a tooth comes out, see your dentist right away.
While youre waiting to see the dentist, you might find relief by:
- avoiding hot or cold drinks and food
- avoiding chewing on the side of the tooth ache
- eating only cool, soft foods
Youre at risk of tooth infection if you dont have good dental hygiene. Take good care of your teeth by:
- brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day
- flossing your teeth at least once a day
- decreasing your intake of sugar
- eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables
If untreated, a tooth infection could potentially travel to other areas of your body, resulting in a potentially life-threatening infection. Signs of a tooth infection spreading to the body may include:
- increased breathing rate
Last medically reviewed on May 28, 2019
- Dental abscess. .
How To Recognize Impacted Wisdom Teeth
1. Throbbing Pain In The Back Of The Jaw
Throbbing pain is one of the most common symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth. If you notice severe pain in the very back of your mouth your dentist should check for wisdom teeth. Impacted teeth can also create a trap for plaque and bacteria and can damage the adjacent molars.
2. Swollen, Tender, Or Bleeding Gums
When wisdom teeth start to erupt, they may cause tenderness, swelling, and inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. Additionally, as the wisdom teeth are the further back teeth in the mouth, they are often the toughest to clean. Plaque and bacteria sitting on the gum may cause irritation and bleeding gums.
3. Swollen Jaw And Surrounding Area
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling in the jaw and surrounding tissue. At first, the swelling may be only slight but it can develop very quickly and cause a lot of pain. Many patients feel pain and have difficulty opening their mouths or speaking normally. If youre experiencing swelling in your mouth or in the surrounding jaw bone, it is imperative that you contact your Calgary dentist immediately to have it checked.
4. Swollen Glands In The Neck And Shoulders
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling in the jaw as well as the surrounding glands and lymph nodes. If the wisdom teeth become infected, swollen glands are often present. Removing an infected wisdom tooth will often relieve the pain and swelling of the glands.
5. Ear Pain and Headaches?
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What Are The Symptoms Of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Sometimes, impacted wisdom teeth dont cause any noticeable problems. Other times, symptoms may develop suddenly or gradually over time. Signs of impacted wisdom teeth include:
- Pain or swelling of your jaw or face.
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums.
- A bad taste in your mouth.
- Difficulty opening your mouth all the way.
Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions for your removal appointment. Be sure to follow them carefully.
Wisdom tooth removal is a common and routine procedure and has a low rate of complications. The removal usually takes less than an hour and involves anesthesia.
You shouldnt experience any pain during or immediately after the procedure. After the anesthesia wears off, though, you might feel pain where the wisdom teeth were.
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