The final set of molars that develop between the ages of 17 and 25 are called wisdom teeth. Many people pass by them unnoticed throughout their lives. Sometimes, these third molars might get entrapped in the lower or upper jaw. Impaction is the technical term for this. Impaction is derived from the Latin word ‘impactus‘. It refers to a mechanical condition that prevents an organ or structure from returning to its normal position. You can develop a painful and uncomfortable infection in their impacted wisdom tooth, just like with any other tooth. Additionally, these molars have the potential to push against nearby teeth, shifting them out of position. This article addresses the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth infection and discusses the role of antibiotics along with the definitive treatment of painful impacted wisdom teeth.
What signs or symptoms indicate an infection of the impacted wisdom teeth?
There are certain signs or symptoms of impacted wisdom tooth, which include:
- Swelling in the jaw
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Inflamed-red gums
- Sore gums that bleed when brushing
- A bad taste
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant discharge like a white fluid oozing from the gums around the wisdom tooth
If you experience these symptoms, you may need dental treatment for a wisdom tooth infection or impaction. In such cases, headaches, nausea, and breathing issues may also be present. If the infection worsens, you may also experience jaw spasms or swelling on one side of their face, along with swollen lymph nodes under the chin.
Do antibiotics work to treat pain from impacted wisdom teeth?
No, antibiotics treat infections caused by impacted wisdom teeth; they cannot completely relieve pain from impacted wisdom teeth. This is due to the fact that antibiotics are drugs that either kill or suppress bacterial growth. These drugs work by eliminating or stopping bacterial growth. Therefore, they can prevent bacterial infections due to the impaction of wisdom tooth. They also can prevent the infection that may still arise after the surgical removal of the impacted third molar.
If a dentist does not examine the pain from the impacted wisdom tooth, it may also infect the teeth next to it. This is because maintaining good oral hygiene may be challenging because of the position of the wisdom teeth. It raises the risk of infections because of bacterial buildup in the area. Therefore, infection is more likely to spread to the gum tissue surrounding impacted teeth. The gums around the impacted tooth may develop pericoronitis if such teeth only partially erupt. This is pericoronitis. Pericoronitis, a painful inflammation, requires medical attention. If these impacted wisdom teeth grow in a sac-like structure within the jawbone, they may form cysts and harm the tissues around them. Antibiotics can therefore help treat such infections and slow the growth of bacteria, but they cannot completely eliminate pain.
How can a painful wisdom tooth be treated?
The painful impacted wisdom tooth is typically surgically removed. However, a dentist should decide whether to extract an impacted tooth. The dentist usually decides to extract the impacted tooth when it tends to crowd the teeth, cause sinus problems, damage the jaw, cause swollen gums and deep cavities, damage the neighboring teeth, and damage the alignment of the teeth. The other elements considered in the decision-making process include the patient’s age, mouth structure, and tooth alignment. However, if the tooth does not require extraction, you can manage the pain temporarily by a cold compress, warm saline rinses, medicated mouthwashes, clove oil, and even prescribed painkillers.
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