Infected Wisdom Tooth: Signs of Infection to Watch For

Signs of Infection to Watch For in an Infected Wisdom Tooth

Are you experiencing pain in the back of your mouth near your wisdom tooth? It could be a sign of infection. An infected wisdom tooth can cause a range of symptoms that can be easily overlooked. In this article, we will discuss the signs of infection to watch for in an infected wisdom tooth, and what you should do if you suspect you have one.

Overview of Infected Wisdom Tooth

An infected wisdom tooth, also known as pericoronitis, occurs when the gum tissue around a partially erupted wisdom tooth becomes infected. This can cause pain, swelling, and other symptoms that can impact your oral health and overall well-being. It is important to be aware of the signs of infection so that you can seek treatment promptly.

What is a wisdom tooth?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically emerge in the late teens or early twenties. These teeth often do not have enough room to fully erupt, leading to partial eruption or impacted teeth. This can create pockets where bacteria can accumulate, increasing the risk of infection.

Causes of wisdom tooth infection

The primary cause of a wisdom tooth infection is the accumulation of bacteria in the gum tissue surrounding the partially erupted tooth. This can be exacerbated by poor oral hygiene, which allows bacteria to thrive and cause inflammation and infection. Trauma to the area, such as from biting down on the tooth or a foreign object, can also lead to infection.

Risk factors for infected wisdom tooth

Several factors can increase the risk of developing an infected wisdom tooth. These include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Crowded or impacted wisdom teeth
  • Smoking or tobacco use
  • Compromised immune system
  • Age (wisdom teeth are more likely to cause problems in younger adults)
  • Genetics (some people are more prone to developing impacted or infected wisdom teeth)

By understanding the causes and risk factors for infected wisdom teeth, you can take steps to prevent infection and seek prompt treatment if symptoms arise. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene, attend regular dental check-ups, and discuss any concerns with your dentist.

Signs and Symptoms of Infected Wisdom Tooth

Pain and swelling

One of the most common signs of an infected wisdom tooth is pain and swelling in the affected area. The pain may be constant or come and go, and can range from mild discomfort to severe throbbing. Swelling may also be present, making it difficult to open your mouth fully or chew properly.

Redness and tenderness

In addition to pain and swelling, you may notice redness and tenderness around the infected wisdom tooth. The gums in the area may appear inflamed and feel tender to the touch. This can make it uncomfortable to brush or floss around the affected tooth.

Bad taste or odor

Another sign of an infected wisdom tooth is a bad taste or odor in your mouth. This can be caused by the presence of pus or other fluids draining from the infection. You may notice a foul taste when eating or drinking, or a persistent bad breath that doesn’t improve with brushing or mouthwash.

If you are experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment of your infected wisdom tooth. Delaying treatment can lead to further complications and potentially more serious oral health issues.

Complications of Untreated Infected Wisdom Tooth

If left untreated, an infected wisdom tooth can lead to various complications that can have serious consequences for your oral health. Here are some of the potential complications to watch out for:

Abscess Formation

One of the most common complications of an untreated infected wisdom tooth is the formation of an abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms around the infected tooth, causing swelling, pain, and redness in the surrounding gums. If left untreated, an abscess can lead to further infection and even the spread of bacteria to other parts of the body.

Spread of Infection

Another serious complication of an untreated infected wisdom tooth is the spread of infection to other areas of the mouth and body. The bacteria from the infected tooth can easily travel through the bloodstream to other organs, leading to conditions such as sepsis or endocarditis. It is crucial to seek treatment for an infected wisdom tooth to prevent the spread of infection.

Damage to Surrounding Teeth

In addition to causing pain and discomfort, an untreated infected wisdom tooth can also cause damage to the surrounding teeth. The pressure from the infection can cause shifting or misalignment of neighboring teeth, leading to bite problems and further dental issues. In severe cases, the infection may even spread to the adjacent teeth, causing multiple teeth to become infected.

It is important to recognize the signs of infection in a wisdom tooth and seek prompt treatment to prevent these potential complications. Remember to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular dental check-ups to maintain your oral health and prevent infections in your wisdom teeth.


In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the signs of infection in a wisdom tooth in order to seek prompt treatment and prevent further complications. If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or fever in the area of your wisdom tooth, it is crucial to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible. By staying vigilant and proactive in monitoring your oral health, you can ensure the best possible outcome for your infected wisdom tooth. Remember, early detection and treatment are key in preventing the infection from spreading and causing more serious issues.

Share this post: