Diagnosing And Treating An Infected Wisdom Tooth

Wisdom teeth infections can cause various signs and symptoms, however, certain infections may be asymptomatic. If your wisdom tooth infection is long-standing or severe, you may have damaged the nerve located in the center of the tooth, which is called the pulp. If you have nerve damage or if the nerve has died as a result of severe infection (abscess) then pain may be minimal or nonexistent. Here are some ways your general dentistry professional can diagnose and treat your infected wisdom tooth. 

Diagnosing An Infected Wisdom Tooth

Your dentist will perform an oral examination and assess your teeth and surrounding soft tissues for inflammation, bleeding, and discolored drainage. They will also check your back teeth for looseness and cracks. You may be more likely to get an infected wisdom tooth if the tooth is broken or cracked because this allows infection-causing bacteria to get into the pulp.

Your general dentistry professional may also ask you if you have a toothache, if your pain radiates to your ear or jaw, or if you have a bad taste in your mouth when your bite down or chew. A simple bitewing x-ray may also be taken which will show areas of infection and any damage to the underlying bone if there is any. Your treatment options will be based on how extensive your infection is and whether or not you have nerve damage.

Treatment For An Infected Wisdom Tooth

Your dentist will clean out the infected material from your tooth and will irrigate it with water to help ensure that the area is as clean as possible. They may also prescribe an antimicrobial mouthwash or oral antibiotic to clear your infection to prevent it from getting worse or from spreading.

If your infection is extensive, your dentist may refer you to another general dentistry professional known as an endodontist, who may recommend a root canal to help save the tooth. If, however, the tooth, pulp, and nerve are severely damaged beyond repair, your dentist may have no other choice than to extract the tooth. To help avoid your other teeth from shifting out of place after your infected wisdom tooth has been pulled, a dental implant may be recommended to fill the empty space left.

If you believe your wisdom tooth may be infected, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. A timely diagnosis and prompt treatment will help improve your outcome and help prevent tooth loss.

Contact a general dentist like Dr. Jon Douglas Lesan, DDS, RpH, PA to learn more.