Wisdom Teeth Infections

How Severe is wisdom tooth infection?

Wisdom teeth infection can be a painful and distressing experience for many individuals. The emergence of these third molars, often in late adolescence or early adulthood, can lead to various oral health complications, including wisdom tooth infection or pericoronitis. If you are experiencing symptoms such as severe pain, swelling, difficulty opening your mouth, or a foul taste or odour, it is crucial to seek immediate professional help.

What Are Wisdom Tooth Infections?

Wisdom tooth infections, also known as pericoronitis, refer to an inflammation and infection of the gum tissue surrounding the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, commonly known as third molars, usually appear during the late teenage years or early adulthood as the final set of molars.

However, due to their positioning at the back of the mouth and often limited space, they can become impacted or partially erupted. This causes them to create a favorable environment for infections to occur.

When a wisdom tooth fails to fully emerge from the gum line, a flap of gum tissue may cover a portion of the tooth, creating a pocket where bacteria can accumulate. These trapped bacteria can lead to an infection, causing symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, difficulty opening the mouth, and an unpleasant taste or odour.

Signs of An Wisdom Tooth Infection

Infected wisdom tooth symptoms include the following:

Persistent Pain:

One of the most common signs of a wisdom tooth infection is persistent and throbbing pain in the area where the affected tooth is located. The pain often radiates to the several areas of the body including the ear, jaw, or neck.

Swelling and Redness:

Inflammation of the gum tissue around the affected wisdom tooth is another common symptom. You may notice swelling, redness, or tenderness in the area. The gum tissue may appear puffy or irritated.

Unpleasant Taste or Odour:

An infected wisdom tooth can produce a foul taste or odour in the mouth. This is often caused by the accumulation of bacteria and pus around the tooth and the associated gum infection.

Jaw Stiffness:

In some cases, a wisdom tooth infection can cause stiffness and limited movement in the jaw joint.

Swollen Lymph Nodes:

When a wisdom tooth infection spreads, it can lead to swollen lymph nodes in the neck and jaw area.

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If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to seek professional dental care promptly. A dentist will evaluate your condition, diagnose the wisdom tooth infection, and recommend appropriate treatment options to resolve the infection.

Why Do People Have Wisdom Teeth? 

While the exact purpose of wisdom teeth remains uncertain, they are widely believed to be a vestige from our evolutionary history. Here are a few theories that explain why humans have wisdom teeth:

Ancestral Diet:

In the past, human diets consisted of coarse and rough foods, such as roots, nuts, and meats that required more chewing power. Wisdom teeth were thought to serve as additional molars to aid in grinding and chewing these tough foods.

Jaw Size and Evolution:

Over time, human jaws have become smaller due to changes in diet and evolution. However, the number of teeth we have has remained relatively constant. As a result, when wisdom teeth emerge, there is often insufficient space in the mouth for them to fully erupt and function properly.

Genetic Factors:

The development and presence of wisdom teeth can be influenced by genetic factors. Some individuals may have genetic traits that predispose them to develop wisdom teeth, while others may have genetic variations that result in the absence or fewer numbers of wisdom teeth.

Evolutionary Redundancy:

As humans evolved and their dietary habits changed, the need for an extra set of molars diminished. Therefore, the presence or absence of wisdom teeth can vary among individuals.


Treatment for wisdom tooth-related issues depends on the specific problem and the severity of the condition. Here are some common treatments for different scenarios:


In cases where a wisdom tooth infection is present, antibiotics may be prescribed to control the infection. Antibiotics help eliminate the bacteria causing the infection and reduce inflammation.

Pain Management:

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide temporary relief from wisdom tooth pain and associated discomfort. Topical numbing gels or oral rinses may also help alleviate symptoms.

Periodic Monitoring:

In some cases, the dentist may choose to monitor the condition of wisdom teeth that are not causing immediate problems. Regular dental check-ups and X-rays can help track the development and positioning of wisdom teeth to identify potential issues early on.

Why Wisdom Teeth Gets Infected?

Wisdom teeth can become infected due to various factors. Here are some common reasons why wisdom teeth may get infected:


Wisdom teeth often don’t have enough space to fully emerge or grow in the proper alignment. This can cause them to become impacted, meaning they are partially or fully trapped beneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth create pockets where bacteria and food particles can accumulate, leading to infection.

Partial Eruption:

When a wisdom tooth only partially erupts, it leaves a small opening in the gum tissue. This opening can provide an entry point for bacteria, which can then infect the surrounding gum tissue and cause an infection.

Poor Oral Hygiene:

Inadequate oral hygiene can contribute to wisdom tooth infections. When proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing are not practised, bacteria can multiply in the mouth, increasing the risk of infection.

Trapped Food and Debris:

Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth, making them more difficult to clean thoroughly. Food particles can get trapped between the wisdom tooth and the adjacent gum tissue, creating an environment conducive to bacterial growth and infection.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of a wisdom tooth infection, consult a dentist at Thousand Smiles. We are dedicated to providing compassionate care and effective solutions to alleviate your pain and restore your oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and let us help you find relief from wisdom tooth infections.