Also called as Pericoronal Abscess, a wisdom tooth abscess can be a painful and very bothersome issue to rectify. While the problem manifests in adults, there have been cases of teens suffering from the issue as well. The wisdom tooth would usually start making its appearance between the ages of 16-20 years. In some cases, the growing tooth would not be able to make its way through the gum tissue and becomes impacted in the sense it would have little or no space to grow further.
It is at this point that the impacted wisdom tooth starts pricking and prodding the gums to get more room. And this is what causes the partially erupted tooth and the surrounding gums to swell up and cause infection (dental abscess).
Accordingly, the abscess would cause holes to form in the tooth’s natural protective layer, the enamel. This in turn would lead to bacteria buildup in the region and cause infection which would with time affect the root of the tooth, including the nerves and bones that support it as well.
Although wisdom tooth abscess is not a common occurrence, one out of every three individuals would have experienced an impacted tooth abscess or would experience the same at least once in his/her lifetime. And although the main reason for wisdom tooth abscess is impacted wisdom teeth, in certain cases, the abscess can occur because of tooth loss, breakage, or gum disease etc.
Signs Of Wisdom Tooth Abscess
Complications of a Wisdom Tooth Abscess
Many of us tend to ignore the pain resulting from an impacted wisdom tooth thinking that it would subside on its own. Some of us even tend to ignore the signs of a tooth abscess as and when we start to notice them. This can worsen the infection and cause more complications with time.
Accordingly, wisdom tooth abscesses can cause several other dental complications both in the short and long runs. And most if not all of these complications would usually end in tooth decay or tooth loss. Some of the other serious complications arising out of wisdom tooth abscess include cellulitis infection, sepsis, gum diseases, and jaw bone related issues.
Important Symptoms of a Wisdom Tooth Abscess
An impacted wisdom tooth is best left to the doctor to be treated. Nevertheless, it pays to make note of the symptoms of a wisdom tooth abscess so that you can take precautionary measures as and when you start noticing them. Accordingly, here are some of the more important symptoms of a wisdom tooth abscess that you need to be concerned about.
Excruciating Tooth Pain
The most common symptom of a wisdom tooth abscess is the excruciating pain that accompanies it nonstop. At times, the pain would feel like a sharp stab while at other times, it would give off a gnawing sensation.
Sometimes, the pain resulting from the abscess would shoot throughout the body and render you helpless. The throbbing pain would also affect your eating habits wherein you will find it very difficult to even bite down on food or chew it without writhing in pain.
In addition to the pain that accompanies a wisdom tooth abscess, an individual would also feel extremely uncomfortable. He/she would constantly feel something in his/her mouth and feel uneasy about the same.
Open Tooth/Gum Sores
Wisdom tooth abscess can lead to the formation of pimple like sores, gum boils or bumps on the sides of the cheek or the gums (the tongue side in this case). In certain cases, the sores may open up or pop causing the fluid collected in the abscess to drain into the mouth. This in turn can leave a very bitter taste in the mouth.
The impacted wisdom tooth would lead to the formation of holes in the tooth enamel. With its protective layer gone, the tooth would become highly sensitive to not only hot and cold foods, but spicy and even sweet foods as well. So if you start experiencing an increase in tooth sensitivity along with the pain, chances are you have an impacted wisdom tooth that has led to an abscess.
Wisdom tooth abscess can potentially damage the neighboring teeth. In certain cases, the teeth bordering the abscess would start becoming pink or gray owing to the spread of infection. The impacted wisdom tooth would also give off the impression of a tooth protruding out of its socket. This in turn would make it hard for you to close your mouth properly as you would feel that your teeth do not close properly.
Inflammation of Gums, Jaws and Neck
Wisdom tooth abscess does not affect the impacted tooth and the surrounding teeth alone. It also affects the gums and the jaw bone surrounding the affected tooth. Accordingly, a wisdom tooth abscess can cause redness and inflammation of the gums. It can also cause painful swelling of the lower and upper jaw line. In certain cases, a wisdom tooth abscess can cause the neck glands (on the side of the cheek which houses the affected tooth) to swell.
In certain rare cases, a wisdom tooth abscess can cause an open sore wound that would drain into the mouth. In addition to this, the abscess can lead to a creamy, yellowish pus like discharge from the swollen area. It is not uncommon to see the swollen area bleeding due to the abscess as well.
With open sores and gumboils, your mouth would most surely start emitting a foul odor. So if you start experiencing a bad breath as and when your wisdom tooth starts erupting, chances are the tooth might have become abscessed.
Other Symptoms you need to look out for
Even though the symptoms mentioned above are some of the most common symptoms of a wisdom tooth abscess, there are certain other signs that can be coupled with the former to give a correct diagnosis. These include:
In case the abscess becomes highly infectious, a person suffering from the condition would start developing cold chills and fever. He/she would also feel nauseous and dizzy and would find it difficult to go to sleep.
In certain cases, the abscess would kill the tooth root in which case, the pain arising from the infection would stop. But that doesn’t mean the infection would stop too. So if you suddenly feel no pain after a few days of extreme discomfort, make it a point to check with a dentist anyway. This way you can prevent the infection from spreading further even if the pain stops midway.