Home care of infected wisdom teeth
1. Recognize the signs of wisdom tooth infection.
The infection around the wisdom tooth, known as pericoronitis, occurs when the tissue around the wisdom tooth becomes inflamed and infected. Also, this type of infection occurs when only a part of the tooth has grown and the tooth is not completely removed from the gum. In addition, when the distance between the teeth near the wisdom tooth is small, it is not easy to clean and floss the wisdom tooth, as a result, the accumulation of food in these parts can lead to infection. To diagnose an infected tooth, it is necessary to identify its obvious signs and symptoms. The following symptoms indicate a wisdom tooth infection:
- If the gums are bright red or white spots appear on the gums, there is a possibility of infection. In this situation, the gums around the desired tooth will be inflamed.
- If a person feels moderate to severe pain in the jaw area and finds it difficult to chew, there is a possibility of infection. In this situation, there is a possibility of swelling like a small mass in the cheek. This swollen part is also warm to the touch.
- Sometimes, the presence of a metallic and unpleasant taste in the mouth can indicate an infection. This taste is felt in the mouth due to the presence of blood and pus at the site of infection. In addition, this problem can be one of the causes of bad breath.
- If a person has difficulty opening their mouth or swallowing, they or may have an infection. In fact, in these conditions, the infection has spread from the gums to other facial muscles.
- Fever is another sign of infection. If your body temperature is above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius), it means you have a fever. Your body is fighting the infection. If the infection is very severe, the person will also experience muscle weakness. In this case, you should see a dentist or doctor immediately.
- In some cases, the root of the tooth may also get infected. In this case, the dentist may pull the tooth.
2. Rinse your mouth with salt water.
Salt is naturally antiseptic and you can eliminate the bacteria in your mouth by rinsing your mouth with salt water. Add 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of lukewarm water. Mix the solution well until the salt is completely dissolved in the water.
- Swish some of the solutions in your mouth for 30 seconds, focusing more on the infected area to kill the bacteria.
- After 30 seconds, remove the salt water from the mouth and do not swallow the solution. Repeat this 3 to 4 times a day.
- This method of treatment can be used together with any antibiotic prescribed by the dentist.
3. You can use dental gel to treat wisdom tooth pain and inflammation.
Dental antibacterial gels can be obtained from pharmacies. These gels are very useful for controlling infection and relieving any pain or inflammation in the teeth.
- To use the dental gel, wash your mouth clean and apply one or two drops of the gel directly on the infected area using the tip of the cotton applicator.
- Do not use your fingers to apply the gel; because this increases the risk of bacteria entering the infected area.
- For best results, apply the toothpaste to the infected area 3 to 4 times a day.
4. Take the pain relief of an infected wisdom tooth seriously.
If you feel severe pain due to a wisdom tooth infection, you can reduce the inflammation of the infected areas by taking pain relievers. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be obtained from pharmacies without a prescription.
- Ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin are the most common NSAIDs. Of course, aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 18, because the use of aspirin in this age group leads to Reye’s syndrome and, as a result, brain and liver damage.
- Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is not an NSAID and does not relieve inflammation, but it can be used to relieve pain.
- Take the medicines according to the instructions on the package or the doctor’s order and do not take more than the prescribed amount.
- Note that each drug has its side effects, so before taking the drug, read the information on the package. If necessary, consult your pharmacist or doctor.
5. Use an ice pack to relieve toothache.
If you don’t want to take medicine, put an ice pack on the infected area to relieve the pain. Until you find a definitive treatment, using an ice pack can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. If the swelling is severe, you should seek immediate treatment.
- Place ice cubes in a plastic bag or a towel. Apply an ice pack to the swollen area for at least ten minutes.
- Also, instead of an ice pack, you can use a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas or corn, for pain relief. (Do not consume vegetables that have been thawed and refrozen.)
6. Call your dentist.
If you suffer from a toothache, see a dentist as soon as possible. If medical treatment for the infection is not done completely, this infection may spread to other parts of the patient’s mouth and body.
- Also, wisdom tooth infection may lead to other problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, and cyst formation. In addition, as a result of infection, the possibility of more serious complications such as swollen lymph nodes, sepsis (infection in the blood), systemic infection, and possibly death will also lurk.
- If the dentist you are looking for is very busy and cannot visit you right away, it is better to go to an urgent care clinic or hospital. In these centers, you can use the help of an emergency dentist.
See a dentist to treat a wisdom tooth infection
1. Seek help from a dentist to treat your tooth infection.
The dentist examines the infected area and takes radiographs of the affected area to determine the severity of the infection and identify the best treatment method.
- The dentist will check the position of the tooth to find out if the tooth is completely out of the gum or if a part of it is still stuck in the gum. In addition, the dentist also checks the condition of the gums around the teeth.
- If the wisdom tooth has not yet fully erupted from the gums, the dentist will determine the location of the tooth and identify its position by performing radiographs. With the help of this radiograph, the dentist decides whether to extract the tooth or not.
- Your medical history is important to the dentist. In case of allergy to a certain drug, you should inform the dentist.
2. Ask your dentist about the costs, risks, and benefits of treatment.
Consult the dentist about the cost of the desired treatment method. Additionally, you can ask your dentist about all the risks and benefits of treatment, as well as alternative treatments that may be a good option.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. It is your right to know about your treatment options.
3. Allow the dentist to clean the infected area around the tooth.
If the wisdom tooth is coming out of the gum without any problems and the infection is not too severe, the dentist can easily clean the infection with an antiseptic solution.
- The dentist can remove any infected tissue, pus, food debris, or plaque from around the tooth and the infected area. If there is an abscess on the gum, the dentist can drain the pus by making a small incision.
- After cleaning the infection from the gums and the surrounding area, the dentist will recommend the necessary home care and ask you to follow the instructions for the next few days. Medical advice may include using mouth gels to reduce inflammation, antibiotics to clear up the infection, and pain relievers to relieve any pain. Antibiotics that are often prescribed by dentists include amoxicillin, clindamycin, and penicillin.
4. Prepare yourself for minor surgery.
When bacteria, plaques, and food debris get stuck in the part of the gum covering the wisdom tooth, which is known as the gum flap, the wisdom tooth becomes infected. If the tooth has not yet erupted but is positioned so that it can erupt, it is easier to remove the infected gum flap than to extract the tooth from the root.
- The dentist may want to perform a minor surgery called “opercolectomy” during which the soft gum tissue covering the wisdom tooth is removed.
- After the gum tissue is removed, it will be easier to keep different areas of the gum clean of plaque and bacteria. In addition, removing the gum tissue can greatly reduce the chance of re-infection of the wisdom tooth.
- Before the operation, the dentist numbs the desired area with local anesthesia. Then, using scalpel blades, laser gum surgery, or electric cautery methods, the flap removes the infected tissue.
5. Consider wisdom tooth extraction as a treatment method.
If you are constantly suffering from infection and your wisdom tooth is not going to come out from the gum, it is better to pull your wisdom tooth. In addition, if the infection is very severe, tooth extraction is necessary.
- According to the position of the tooth, tooth extraction is performed by a dentist or oral surgeon.
- For this, the dentist injects you with local anesthesia and pulls the tooth.
- You may be prescribed antibiotics and pain relievers to prevent further infection and relieve the pain of infected gums. In this situation, it is better to follow your dentist’s recommendations regarding oral hygiene measures.
- You should visit the dentist once more to check your gums. This is done to ensure the gums heal. If it is necessary to extract the wisdom tooth, the dentist will also check the position of the opposite wisdom tooth to remove it from the root if necessary.
Maintaining oral and dental hygiene and preventing wisdom tooth infection
To prevent future infections in the gums, it is necessary to observe oral and dental hygiene. The first step in oral hygiene is to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush. Brushes with coarse and thick bristles are too hard and damage the delicate tooth enamel and destroy it.
- Place your toothbrush on the teeth at an angle of 45 degrees to the gums.
- Instead of brushing your teeth back and forth, brush your teeth in small circular motions. Brushing back and forth can damage tooth enamel.
- You should brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Make sure to brush the teeth to the gums. Do not forget the back teeth.
2. Floss your teeth every day.
Flossing is just as important as brushing because if plaque and bacteria build up between the teeth and are not removed by brushing, they will be removed by flossing. If the plaque between the teeth is not removed, it can lead to tooth decay, infection, and gum disease. Therefore, floss at least once a day.
- Hold the floss firmly between both hands and gently move it back and forth between the teeth. Try not to floss on the gums, as this will irritate the gums and can cause the gums to bleed.
- Bend the floss over one tooth in a “C” shape and gently slide it between your tooth and gum.
- Hold the floss firmly and gently move it back and forth.
- Floss between each tooth and behind your back molars. You should always rinse your mouth after flossing to remove plaque and bacteria from between the teeth.
3. Use disinfectant mouthwash to eliminate bacteria in the mouth.
Using mouthwash helps control bacteria in the mouth and freshens your breath. Use a mouthwash that has the ADA seal of approval. These types of mouthwashes have been approved by the American Dental Association and are very effective in removing oral bacteria.
- You can use mouthwash solution before or after brushing. Fill the mouthwash lid with mouthwash and pour it into your mouth. Then, swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and spit it out.
- To disinfect your mouth and teeth, you can use both commercial types of mouthwash and rinse your mouth with undiluted chlorhexidine, which is available in most pharmacies.
- If using mouthwash causes a burning sensation in your mouth, get an alcohol-free mouthwash.
4. Visit the dentist regularly.
Regular dental checkups are the best way to prevent wisdom tooth infections and other dental problems.
- Visit the dentist every six months, especially if your wisdom teeth have not yet erupted. If your teeth have a particular problem, you will need to visit more often.
5. Do not smoke.
When your wisdom tooth is infected, avoid smoking or using tobacco, as these substances irritate the gums and make the infection worse.
- Smoking is bad for your health in general and it also endangers your oral health. Therefore, it is better to consult your doctor about ways to quit smoking.
- Also, smoking stains your teeth and tongue, reduces your body’s ability to heal pain, and causes gum disease and oral cancer.