The Infection No One Talks About: What You Should Know When Wisdom Teeth Go Bad

You brushed, you flossed, you did everything right – but now you’re dealing with intense pain, swelling, and other yucky symptoms in your mouth. The culprit? An infected wisdom tooth.

Wisdom teeth infections might not be sexy, but they demand your attention. Keep reading to learn all about the symptoms, emergency warning signs, and treatment options to get your smile back on track fast.

They Might Be Wise, But Your Teeth Sure Aren’t Acting Like It

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars located in the far back corners of your mouth. Most people have four, but anywhere from zero to six is possible.

They’re called “wisdom” teeth because they usually show up later in life – our late teens to mid-20’s. By that time, we’re wiser and more mature than when we got our baby teeth, or so the logic goes.

But while wisdom teeth should usher you into a new phase of dental enlightenment, more often they bring trouble. Any issues with pain or infection signal that your teeth are trying to tell you something important.

Something’s Wrong in Tooth City: Common Signs of Infection

So you’re noticing weird symptoms in your mouth that you can’t explain. How do you know if it’s a true infection versus just a one-off bad tooth day?

Look for these top five hallmarks of wisdom tooth woes:

Mouth Pain That Won’t Quit

  • We’re not talking normal tooth pain. This pain feels like someone is stabbing your gums and it won’t relent no matter how many pain pills you pop.

Bleeding Gums

  • When you brush or floss your back teeth, your gums bleed like you’re in a zombie thriller movie. Definitely not normal!

Unbearable Swelling

  • You wake up and one side of your face is so puffy it looks lopsided. Chic? No. A sign you need medical help? Yes.

Nasty Mouth Smells or Tastes

  • Your breath suddenly smells like something died inside and the putrid taste just won’t leave. Time to call the dentist ASAP.

No Sleep & Zero Appetite

  • The gnawing, pounding pain keeps you awake all night. Trying to eat is miserable so you give up, losing your appetite altogether. This is a cry for help!

When Wisdom Teeth Go Bad: Emergency Signs You Can’t Ignore

Most wisdom tooth infections cause mild to moderate symptoms at first. But there are a few key signs the problem is accelerating into dental disaster territory:

You Have a Face-Melting Fever

  • A fever over 100°F means your body is in full panic mode trying to fight severe infection.

Your Swelling Spreads Beyond Your Jaw

  • If puffiness and tenderness starts wrapping around your whole cheek or reaching your neck, the infection may turn life-threatening without urgent care.

Pus Starts Seeping From Your Gums

  • Seeing thick, white or greenish discharge is the ultimate red flag – at this point the infection has reached abscess level.

You Have Trouble Swallowing Food or Water

  • Pain and swelling makes it increasingly hard to swallow comfortably. This can lead to dangerous dehydration or malnutrition if left as-is.

Numbness, Tingling, or Shooting Pain in Your Face

  • Numb, tingly or sharp nerve pain spreading outward alerts the infection is advancing deeper through tissue.

If you notice any of the above symptoms paired with classic wisdom tooth infection pain, it’s critical to seek same-day emergency dental care. Both your dental and overall health hang in the balance!

The Million Dollar Question: Will This Infection Go Away On Its Own?

Like an unwelcome house guest, a mild wisdom tooth infection might disappear briefly only to show up again later uninvited.

Without professional dental treatment, the pain and swelling may sputter out temporarily as your immune system fights back hard…for now. But since the underlying alignment issue remains unsolved, the recurring infection often strikes back – sometimes with vengeance!

Each subsequent round increases decay and tissue damage dramatically. Plus you never know when a “mild” case might suddenly spiral out of control, even turning life-threatening.

So rather than play a risky guessing game, get ahead of things early. Contact your dentist at the first sign of infected wisdom teeth before it’s too late.

Let’s Get That Smile Back: Your Infection Treatment Options

Luckily treating most wisdom tooth infections is fairly straightforward (albeit uncomfortable temporarily). First off, see your dentist immediately at the earliest signs of pain or swelling – don’t wait!

Here are the likely treatment paths depending on severity:

Mild Infections – Antibiotics + Anti-Inflammatories Catching it early? You may dodge wisdom tooth removal (for now). Your dentist will prescribe strong antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds to clear up the infection fast.

Moderate or Severe Infections – Pull Those Puppies Out If your pain is already high level or swelling beyond moderate, removing the troublesome wisdom teeth altogether is usually the wisest route long-term, with antibiotics as backup.

Worst Case Infections – IV Antibiotics + Oral Surgery ASAP

Think facial swelling distorting your visage beyond recognition plus a litany of other horrific symptoms? You’ll start urgent IV antibiotics followed immediately by emergency wisdom tooth extraction.

Say Goodbye to Infection, Hello to Healthy Smile

Whether you end up keeping your wisdom teeth or saying farewell forever after this ordeal, take their infection warning signs seriously. Reach out to your dentist promptly at the first sight of trouble for treatment guidance.

With professional dental care, your raging wisdom tooth infection and pain will transform back to a peaceful, happy smile in no time…wisdom regained!

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