If you are currently experiencing a wisdom tooth abscess, then chances are that you’ll know about it. For most people, the area around the infected tooth will be very painful, but for others, an abscess can go unnoticed. In either case, if not treated, it can cause an infection in the bloodstream which may lead to Sepsis – a life-threatening condition. For this reason, and because dental abscesses don’t resolve themselves, the condition should be considered a dental emergency.
What is a wisdom tooth abscess exactly?
A wisdom tooth abscess is the same as a dental abscess, except that it occurs in or near the wisdom tooth. An abscess is triggered by a build-up of bacteria leading to an infection.
So why does it occur in wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last molars to develop so as they grow through (erupt) there is often insufficient room for them to develop properly. Inevitably, they can become stuck or lodged between the gum. This is known as impaction. When an impacted tooth occurs, bacteria can become lodged between the tooth and the flap of gum tissues covering it. This makes the tooth difficult to clean. As more bacteria builds-up it can cause an infection. This, in turn, can lead to an accumulation of pus and subsequent tenderness and swelling at the site.
What are the symptoms of a dental abscess?
While not every patient will show every symptom, there will be signs that all is not right with your oral health.
- Discomfort or sensitivity when eating
- Throbbing pain in or near the tooth site
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
- Pain radiating to the ear, neck or jaw; or
- Facial swelling or redness
Unfortunately, a dental abscess won’t right itself and without prompt treatment, the infection can easily spread to other parts of the body. As a result, a wisdom tooth abscess may not only affect your oral health but your overall health too and for this reason, should be treated as a dental emergency.
How does emergency dental treatment help?
When you make the call for a dental emergency our dentist will do all that they can to get you out of any discomfort or pain. To do this they will suggest a treatment or treatments based upon the severity of your condition. They include:
Draining the abscess
If the abscess is limited to a single area, then it may be possible to open up the abscess, drain the area and rinse it with a saline solution, thus flushing out any bacteria.
If the wisdom tooth abscess has spread and isn’t limited to one specific area, then drainage might not be an option. In these cases, it may be necessary to prevent the spread of infection further with the use of medication.
In some cases – particularly those with impacted wisdom teeth – the best case scenario to protect your oral health is to remove the affected tooth altogether. Wisdom teeth aren’t needed for normal biting and chewing therefore an individual can function perfectly normally without them. The good news is that a wisdom tooth extraction is a comfortable standard procedure carried out chair-side at most dentists.
If you have reason to think that you might have a wisdom tooth abscess then you need to seek out emergency dental care. Here at Bondi Beach Dental, we’re committed to providing patients with emergency dental services to assist in the management and maintenance of their oral health. Call us on (02) 9159 6957 today for an emergency dental appointment.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.