3D render of a wisdom tooth abscess

When an area in the body is infected, the immune system sends white blood cells to fight the contamination. These white blood cells combine with damaged tissue and bacteria to create a liquid commonly known as pus. When pus accumulates in an area, an abscess develops. Abscesses can occur throughout the body, but poor dental hygiene, diets high in sugar and carbs, and dry mouth can increase the risk of developing dental infections.

Any tooth can develop an abscess, but wisdom teeth are particularly prone. Generally speaking, it can be challenging to keep wisdom teeth germ-free and clean due to their location. Because modern-day human jaws are not wide enough to hold third molars, infection is rampant among partially erupted wisdom teeth. But even when there are no symptoms, it’s important to have an oral surgeon remove the wisdom teeth. 

In this guide, we help readers gain a little wisdom by explaining everything they need to know about a wisdom tooth abscess and the next necessary steps to obtain sweet relief.

Wisdom Tooth Abscess Symptoms

The ideal age to have wisdom teeth extracted to prevent the development of an abscess is before turning 25. At this age, the roots of the wisdom teeth are typically shorter, making the extraction process easier and reducing the risk of complications. By extracting wisdom teeth before they cause problems, individuals can also minimize the likelihood of other oral health issues like decay, misalignment, and damage to nearby teeth.

But if you are unable to get your wisdom teeth removed in time and are unsure if your teeth have been abscessed? Here are eight indications of dental abscess:

  • Toothaches
  • Tenderness in the jaw, neck, and ear
  • Discomfort when chewing, biting, or eating
  • Sensitivity to temperature
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Difficulty swallowing and breathing
  • When ruptured, a sudden, salty, foul-tasting, and malodorous fluid in the mouth.

The collection of bacteria on wisdom teeth is a significant factor in the formation of abscesses. Wisdom teeth tend to accumulate bacteria more easily due to their position and difficulty in cleaning properly, which increases the likelihood of infection and abscess development. An abscess can develop in the tooth’s inner core (pulp) or between a tooth’s root and the gum tissue, especially in the case of an impacted tooth or partially erupted wisdom tooth.

The familiar pain of an abscess occurs when pus, a product of infection, collects in the tooth’s inner core (pulp) or between a tooth’s root and gum tissue.

Signs that It’s Time to Seek Professional Help

An abscess will not go away on its own, so seek professional help immediately. Go to the emergency room if you are experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing

When left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the face and body causing even more serious problems. An abscess can escalate and cause a bloodstream infection, known as sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that can arise from the spread of infection throughout the body, posing a severe risk to one’s health and well-being. For more information on this serious condition see sepsis.

Home Remedies for Dental Abscess

It’s indeed crucial to meet up with an oral surgeon as soon as possible, but here are some methods that you can use to gain temporary relief or in conjunction with prescribed treatments:

Saline Solution

Even though the adage of “rubbing salt into the wound” suggests that salt makes things worse, saltwater (saline) can aid soft tissue healing. Here’s how to mix this tried and true remedy: 

  1. Combine half a teaspoon of table salt with half a cup of warm water.
  2. Rinse the mouth with the solution for a few minutes.
  3. Spit out the solution.
  4. Repeat up to three times per day.

Baking Soda Mixture

Baking soda is another unexpected, inexpensive ingredient that can help alleviate tenderness associated with oral infection. Baking soda is an everyday kitchen staple that has antibacterial and anti-plaque properties. Here’s a recipe for a three-part baking soda rinse:

  1. Mix half a tablespoon of baking soda, half a cup of water, and a pinch of salt. 
  2. Swish the mixture around the mouth for up to five minutes. 
  3. Spit out the mixture. 
  4. Repeat up to two times per day.

Cold Compress

If you are experiencing tenderness or swelling, use a cold compress in 15-minute intervals multiple times per day.

Speak with a Wisdom Tooth Abscess Specialist Today

At Texas Oral Surgery Specialists, Dr. Chris L. Tye provides treatment for patients experiencing infections, tenderness, and other concerns associated with wisdom teeth. If you are experiencing the adverse side effects of an abscessed tooth, get relief fast. Arrange a consultation at our Colleyville location by calling 817-552-3223 or conveniently communicating with us online right now.