They can also cause the lymph nodes around the neck and jaws to become swollen and tender and even occasionally spread in the body to cause more serious or life threatening infections. If you are experiencing pain or swelling from a wisdom tooth infection, you can contact us for a same day appointment as an emergency patient.
So why are wisdom teeth so susceptible to infection? Modern day adults have small jaws relative to the number of teeth we have, often leaving the wisdom teeth (the last teeth to develop) with very little room to grow in our jawbones. As a result, wisdom teeth are often impacted, meaning they get stuck in the jaw bone in an irregular position. When they come up through the gums, this irregular positioning can form deep gum pockets around the wisdom teeth, perfect for harbouring food particles and infection producing bacteria. This common infection around wisdom teeth is called pericoronitis and can be treated by removal of the bacteria with a deep gum cleaning or, more permanently, by removal (extraction).
Wisdom teeth can also create problems when they grow forwards into the neighbouring teeth, possibly resulting in decay or root damage to these healthy neighbouring teeth. This may result in the loss of these teeth too and lead to other orthodontic issues such as misaligned teeth and a ‘bad bite’.