Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge in your mouth, and for many people, these can come with some uncomfortable symptoms. The most common problem associated with wisdom teeth is swelling – which can be caused by a variety of factors.
But don’t worry: we’re here to give you all the info you need on what might cause this symptom and how to treat it!
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.
Causes of wisdom teeth swelling
Wisdom teeth are third molars that often emerge in one’s late teens or early twenties. Like any other teeth, they can cause dental problems such as pain and swelling. Tooth swelling can appear in one’s gums or even the cheeks on the affected side of the face. So, what causes wisdom teeth swelling?
One of the main reasons for wisdom teeth swelling is impaction. When a wisdom tooth lacks space to emerge, it remains trapped under the gum and jawbone. An impacted tooth can become infected, causing inflammation and swelling as the body tries to fend off the infection. Swelling can also occur if a partially erupted wisdom tooth traps food and bacteria, leading to the formation of a painful abscess.
Improper dental hygiene can also lead to wisdom teeth swelling. If the teeth and gums are not cleaned properly, it can lead to gum disease, which weakens the gums and makes them more prone to swelling. It is important to brush and floss regularly, especially when experiencing swelling or pain around the wisdom teeth. Rinsing with saltwater can also help reduce swelling and discomfort.
In some cases, wisdom teeth swelling can be a sign of a more severe problem, such as a cyst or tumor. These conditions are rare, but it is crucial to have regular dental check-ups to catch any issues early. If wisdom teeth swelling persists or becomes severe, it is essential to speak with a dentist immediately to determine the cause of the swelling and develop an adequate course of treatment.
Common myths about wisdom teeth and swelling
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. As they are the last teeth to emerge, they often come out in a way that causes a lot of discomfort, and sometimes, swelling. This has given rise to many myths about wisdom teeth and swelling that need to be debunked.
One of the most common myths about wisdom teeth is that swelling is normal and does not require any treatment. However, this is not entirely true. While some degree of swelling is to be expected, excessive swelling can be a sign of an infection. An abscess can form when bacteria get trapped in the gum tissue around an impacted wisdom tooth, leading to painful swelling, inflammation, and fever. In such cases, it is important to seek medical attention to prevent the infection from spreading.
Another common myth is that swelling goes away on its own, and there is no need to see a dentist unless you are experiencing severe pain. However, this can be dangerous, as swelling can indicate a serious problem that requires prompt treatment. If left untreated, an infected wisdom tooth can cause damage to the adjacent teeth, bones, and nerves, leading to severe pain, swelling, and even tooth loss.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing swelling due to wisdom teeth, it is important to pay attention to your symptoms and seek prompt medical intervention to avoid serious consequences. Remember to brush and floss regularly, and keep up with your regular dental checkups to keep your mouth healthy and pain-free. With proper care and timely treatment, you can enjoy good oral health and avoid the complications associated with wisdom teeth.
Foods to avoid with wisdom teeth swelling
If you’re like most people who have had their wisdom teeth removed, you’ll probably experience some swelling and discomfort for a few days afterwards. While it’s important to stay hydrated and nourished during this time, there are certain types of foods that you should avoid to prevent further irritation and discomfort.
First on this list is anything hot or spicy. Hot foods can cause a burning sensation in your mouth, which may worsen the inflammation caused by your wisdom teeth removal. This includes everything from steaming hot soups to spicy sauces and condiments like chili or hot sauce. It’s best to steer clear of these foods until your mouth has had a chance to heal.
Similarly, foods that are acidic should also be avoided. This includes citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits, as well as acidic beverages like orange juice or lemonade. Acidic foods can increase discomfort and sensitivity in the mouth, which may make it harder to eat and drink until you’ve fully recovered.
Finally, you should also avoid any hard or crunchy foods. This includes things like popcorn, chips, nuts, and hard candies. Such foods can be difficult to chew and swallow, especially if you’re already experiencing pain and inflammation. Furthermore, hard or crunchy foods can actually damage the surgical site, which may set back your recovery time.
All in all, the foods to avoid with wisdom teeth swelling include hot or spicy foods, acidic foods and beverages, and hard or crunchy foods. Instead, focus on soft, easily-digestible foods like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs until your mouth has had a chance to heal. By following these tips, you’ll ensure a smoother, more comfortable recovery process.