A wisdom tooth abscess is considered a dental emergency, and you should seek immediate treatment if you present with the symptoms of a dental abscess anywhere in your mouth. It is not uncommon for an abscess to develop as a result of impacted wisdom teeth. Abscesses do not self resolve and need to be treated, otherwise the infection will spread and put your oral health at risk.
What Are The Wisdom Teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are your third and final set of molars, and they usually erupt in your late teens or early twenties. Most people do not need their wisdom teeth and end up having them removed, usually because there is not enough space in the jaw to accommodate them. It is really important to monitor your wisdom teeth because if they are impacted and do not have enough space to break through, they can cause dental decay, owing to the difficulties in cleaning the small and irregular spaces with your toothbrush.
What Is A Wisdom Tooth Abscess?
Tooth abscesses develop as a result of untreated dental decay, and occur when an infection develops around the tooth’s root. It is also possible to develop a wisdom tooth abscess if there is a crack or weakness in the tooth, which allows bacteria to penetrate it. The infection results in a build-up of pus, and subsequent swelling and tenderness occurs at the site.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of A Wisdom Tooth Abscess?
- Swelling in your mouth, gums, glands or face
- Persistent or painful toothache
- Bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- A visible white spot or pimple on the gum may indicate the presence of an abscess
If your upper or lower jaw is swollen it is usually an indication that the infection is severe.
The Importance Of Treating A Wisdom Tooth Abscess
It is essential to get immediate treatment for a dental abscess because it won’t heal on its own and is likely to get worse quite quickly, to the point where it can cause a severe infection that spreads to your other teeth and gums.
The treatment you need will depend on the severity of your condition and may include a combination of:
Antibiotics may be necessary to treat the infection from the inside. You must finish the course of antibiotics for your treatment to be effective.
Root canal treatment
If your tooth is dead or dying it may be necessary to perform a root canal to save the tooth.
Draining the abscess
Your dentist will need to drain the excess fluid from the abscess in order to relieve the pressure, and clean out the infected material.
In cases where the tooth cannot be saved, you may need to have the tooth extracted, to prevent the infection from spreading to other structures in your mouth. In the case of wisdom teeth, if it does appear that your wisdom teeth are going to be problematic, your dentist will most likely recommend having them removed to prevent future problems.
The Importance Of Good Oral Health
A wisdom tooth abscess is a dental emergency, however twice-daily brushing and flossing is your best defence against dental decay and to preserve your oral health. Visiting your dentist every six months will ensure that your wisdom teeth are monitored for early intervention, as your dentist will be able to take x-rays and see their position in your gums before they emerge. Most dentists will advocate to have wisdom teeth removed early on so they do not cause unnecessary trouble later on.
Taking Care Of Yourself After Wisdom Tooth Extractions
If you do need to have your wisdom teeth removed, it’s important that you follow your dentist’s instructions about keeping your mouth clean and your oral health in check. This means rinsing your mouth with salt water for the first 24-hours, and avoiding touching the area of the extraction with your tongue or finger, as this could introduce bacteria.
Also avoid hot or cold beverages and do not drink using a straw. You will be instructed to chew on the other side of your mouth, and you may also be given some pain medication to ease any discomfort you might have.
If you have reason to believe you have a wisdom tooth abscess you must seek immediate medical treatment. At Lotus Smiles Dental we are committed to providing our patients with emergency dental services to assist with the management of dental abscesses.
Please contact us for an appointment: (03) 8737 9359