ZocdocAnswersHow serious is an infected wisdom tooth?

Question

How serious is an infected wisdom tooth?

I noticed yesterday my wisdom tooth had come through my gums and was a little sore. Today the whole right side of my upper jaw is swollen and very irritated. The pain is intensifying by the hour. I have a sore throat on the right side. My head hurts only on that side and my right eye is blurry at times. Does this need immediate attention?

Answer

Your description, specifically the fact that you're describing swelling and worsening pain is concerning for an infection. Fevers and worsening swelling would be a sign that the infection is getting worse, and I would strongly recommend you see a doctor right away (call your dental office to see if you can be seen today, otherwise you should go to the emergency room). Danger signs include difficulty breathing or pain or difficulty swallowing (which could manifest as drooling or pooling saliva). It is possible that you don't have an infection in the area and that what you're noticing is local inflammation to the tooth protruding through the gums. Eating cold foods (ice cream, ice water) may help with some of the discomfort, and tylenol or motrin may help with the pain and swelling. However, given that the symptoms you're noticing are getting worse and you're starting to feel symptoms spreading to other parts of your face I'd recommend that you see a doctor or dentist as soon as possible, either by going to your dentist's office or if necessary, going to the emergency room. They may need to extract the tooth if it's infected, but in any case will be able to do an exam of the area and determine whether there is indeed any infection and how best to manage it.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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