Swollen infected gums around a wisdom tooth require immediate treatment to prevent a very serious spread of the infection that can become fatal.
Swollen gums and inflammation around a wisdom tooth is a situation you cannot ignore.
It indicates an infection and it could become very serious. This condition is called pericoronitis.
Watching for other symptoms that accompany it is important, and it needs to be diagnosed quickly by your dentist.
The Cause of Swollen Gums
Pericoronitis is caused when a wisdom tooth is only partially sticking out of the gums. It does not fully erupt.
This enables food particles and bacteria to enter the gums next to the tooth and get trapped there, causing inflamed gums.
As the area at the back of your mouth is not easy to clean, and also because of the flap, the infection can become serious.
In fact, it could become fatal if it spreads very far. In severe cases, the inflammation keeps spreading and can extend into your cheeks and neck.
Symptoms of a Spreading Gum Infection
The symptoms you want to watch for indicate that the infection is expanding and has started to reach a dangerous level.
If left alone, it can become life threatening. The symptoms are fever, an earache, and you will have difficulty breathing.
The infection can be rather painful. You may also taste pus and have bad breath. If there is a tooth above that wisdom tooth, it will likely be painful when you bite down due to the inflammation.
In addition to difficulty breathing, some other symptoms to be on the alert are: muscle spasms in your jaw, swollen lymph nodes under the jaw, or a swollen area of your face.
This condition can also lead to gum disease. Once it gets started and becomes periodontitis, it can affect your gums and teeth.
The inflammation spreads and your immune system reaction starts to destroy your gums, the ligaments that support your teeth, and your jawbone.
Diagnosis and Treatment
The dentist will need to look at and diagnose the condition. With pericoronitis, the dentist will need to drain the pus and clean the area.
Antibiotics will need to be given, and saltwater rinses will need to be taken for several days. It is also possible that you will need wisdom teeth removal.
When to See the Dentist
If you have swollen gums around a wisdom tooth, it’s important to seek dental care right away, which may include a wisdom tooth extraction. Besides being painful, it may lead to a life threatening infectious spread.
Dr. Vadivel, DDS, is a board certified periodontal surgeon, and Founder-CEO of Implants & Gumcare of Texas, offering affordable restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Vadivel has over 25 years of experience.