What Are the Symptoms of an Infected Wisdom Tooth?

symptoms-infected-wisdom-tooth Credit: Herry Lawford/CC-BY 2.0

According to the Better Health Channel, symptoms of an infected wisdom tooth are a reddened, inflamed gum near the wisdom tooth; pain; pus along the gum line; enlarged and sore lymph glands under the jaw, fever; and difficulty in swallowing and opening the mouth. An impacted wisdom tooth or food and bacteria between the wisdom tooth and molar can lead to gum infections and tooth decay.

Infected wisdom teeth can spread bacteria throughout the mouth and cause gum disease. This bacteria can also cause infections and illness that affect internal organs such as the heart and kidneys, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. In rare cases, a tumor can develop at the site of the infected wisdom tooth, which can lead to complications such as damage to facial nerves.

Better Health Channel states that antibiotics provide a short-term cure for an infected wisdom tooth, but the permanent cure is typically an extraction of the wisdom tooth. An extraction can involve cutting into surrounding bone to remove the tooth, followed by the empty socket being stitched together to aid healing. If the wisdom tooth is found to be a functioning tooth, tissue around the tooth may just need to be removed to allow the tooth to completely erupt through the gum.