Wisdom Teeth Swelling: Causes And All You Need To Know
Wisdom teeth swelling, or pericoronitis, is a rather common oral disorder where the tissue surrounding the tooth starts swelling. It can create a gum tissue flap when only a part of the tooth erupts into the mouth. Food particles and debris easily lodge in the flap of gum tissue, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to start breeding. This is when we turn to our dental care providers.
Even though, in the majority of cases, it is a minor symptom associated with the third molar eruption, in some cases, wisdom teeth swelling is a sign of major underlying dental or general health disease. There is also a chance of pericoronitis occurring around a wisdom tooth that is yet to erupt and is under the gums; that is why it is important to clearly recognize the early symptoms of the disorder and seek timely professional medical aid.
What Is Wisdom Tooth Swelling?
To put it simply, this is an acute dental disorder, accompanied by swelling of the supporting gums around the affected third molar on upper or lower jaw and by severe pain.
The physical manifestation of wisdom teeth swelling is usually apparent even for non-professionals and frequently affects not only the patient’s gums, but also spreads onto his cheek or even tongue.
In addition to the actual physical sign of wisdom teeth swelling, the disease features a few more peculiar symptoms.
What Are the Warning Signs of Wisdom Tooth Swelling?
The first symptom for you to get concerned about is the actual nature of the wisdom teeth swelling. It is obviously affected by the location of the swollen wisdom tooth. For instance, if it is the lower jaw, you will notice a visibly large bulge around the corner of the mandible. When the wisdom tooth swelling belongs to the upper jaw, the bulge becomes apparent around the temporomandibular joint.
As the wisdom tooth swelling keeps progressing, the related pain gets really hard to bear and commonly starts radiating into the back of your gums or nearby jaw bone and in extreme cases, may also reach the ear. The pain is worse if you have a crooked jaw which leads to the wisdom tooth erupting in a crooked way instead of straight.
Add to this highly discomforting soreness, such systemic symptoms as headache and fever to get a clear picture of the advanced stages of wisdom tooth swelling. On top of that, many patients face difficulty in chewing or even merely opening their mouth.
This is even more common when the lower wisdom teeth start erupting as the inflammation reaches the masseter muscle, the muscle that opens the mouth. If the pain is so severe, it’s better to drink blended food and take more beverages for a few days. However, do not use a straw as it may lead to dry sockets.
The pain is even more at night, especially if you have a habit of clenching your jaw or grinding your molars when you are sleeping. It’s also better to avoid chewing gum or eating any hard or crunchy food as it only aggravates the wisdom teeth, leading to worse symptoms.
Of course, there are also cases where patients do not even notice any pain or swelling when their wisdom tooth erupts. This happens if the tooth grows in straight, and is well positioned when compared to the other teeth.
In some rare wisdom tooth swelling cases, the patient’s gums and even tongue get numb; he experiences blood in his nose and/or bad breath problems. There are also cases where there is some discharge of pus from the gum near the tooth.
The first symptom is closely linked to blood circulation problems, and all the latter three signs are really a warning call for immediate professional healthcare support. Even more serious symptoms that need immediate dental help are swollen lymph nodes under the chin, swelling on the side of the face that is affected and some muscle spasms in the jaw.
What Are the Wisdom Teeth Swelling Causes?
Due to the very location of the third molars, these teeth are highly difficult to take proper care of, and the constant plaque buildup not only makes these teeth more prone to dental cavities, but also considerably increases the chances of oral bacteria and infection penetrating into their supportive gums, where they can cause wisdom tooth swelling.
What is more, whenever dental caries is accompanied with acute wisdom tooth swelling, the first disease progresses at a much higher rate. In addition, a high percentage of wisdom teeth swelling cases are linked to impacted third molar problems.
However, fully impacted wisdom teeth, which did not even cut through the gums, usually cause only minor swelling, whereas partially impacted ones cause much more discomfort, being additionally endangered with high chances of penetration of the infection into the opened wound.
Cyst is one more common and dangerous source of wisdom teeth swelling, calling for urgent professional medical aid.
Finally, wisdom tooth swelling is frequently observed as a side-effect after surgical extraction of the third molar. The symptom usually arrives in twenty-four hours after the surgical removal, reaches its peak on the second day, and starts gradually fading after that during the entire healing period. Contact your oral surgeon if the wisdom tooth swelling gets worse after the second day following the surgery, especially when accompanied by the blood in the nose, bad breath, or numbness of the gums.
Am I in the High-Risk Group for Wisdom Teeth Swelling?
To start with, patients who suffer with cancer are in the high-risk group for wisdom teeth swelling due to their considerably lowered immune system, which cannot hold the infection from entering the soft tissues of the gums. This is also true for people experiencing constant emotional stress and for young pregnant women.
In addition, arthritis sufferers are at high risk due to supporting bone damage around the affected third molar.
Finally, individuals who wear dental braces or bridges run the risk of physical trauma to the supporting gums of the third molars. Infection easily enters the resulting wound and, thus, causes wisdom teeth swelling.
How Is Wisdom Tooth Swelling Managed?
The treatment plan your doctor develops for your wisdom tooth swelling is closely linked to its source. For instance, homemade remedies plus pain reducing medicine are basically the prescription of all dental care providers for the healing period after extraction surgery.
If the wisdom tooth swelling is linked to an acute infection, which has entered equally the gums and tooth, it is traditionally handled by antibiotic medicine.
However, advanced tooth cavities need dental fillings or even root canal procedures to lower the swelling.
Unfortunately, the only way to handle wisdom tooth swelling in the case of impaction, bad tooth decay, or severe infection is to have it extracted.
That is why timely diagnosis of the source of wisdom tooth swelling source is so important.