Infected Wisdom Tooth or Pericoronitis & Best Home Remedies
Infected Wisdom Tooth Might Be Pericoronitis with Dr Paul – Retired Dental Surgeon
Wisdom teeth, the sign of obtaining wisdom (or so the myth goes). Who ever thought that a 14-year-old was wise? Believe it or not, that’s how early I’ve seen symptoms of wisdom teeth begin to cause problems.
If you’ve ever had an wisdom tooth infection, then this post is for you! It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about infection after you’ve had wisdom teeth extraction (which I’ll talk about in another post) or whether you’ve got an infection before you have them removed. Part of the treatment is the same.
I’m here with some possible home remedies until you can get either situation corrected or have a wisdom tooth extraction. I’ll share with you my recommendations as people often need wisdom teeth pain relief. I gave this advice to patients before I could schedule them in for wisdom teeth removal surgery.
These Dental Recommendations by Dr Paul
Have Worked Well for Decades!
You may want to download a free copy of Dr Paul’s Book
The Secret Weapon for a Healthier Mouth
Dr Paul covers wisdom tooth infection in much more details in his book with images to help explain… thousands of copies have been downloaded.
Infected Wisdom Tooth – A Secret Weapon
What is an impaction? It means that a tooth doesn’t have enough space to grow in to your mouth where it can become a functional part of your chewing apparatus (anyone else find that word funny?). Anyway, impacted wisdom teeth might be completely submerged in the bone (where they usually cause no problems at all) or they might make it almost all the way into the mouth with the exception that the normal arrangement of gum tissue around them can’t form. The impacted wisdom teeth that tend to cause problems are somewhere between these two.
The Specific Name for an Infection
Caused by Impacted Tooth?
We call it Pericoronitis, here’s what it means:
Peri = around
Coron = crown (the enamel-covered part of a tooth that you normally see in the mouth)
Itis = inflammation (in this case caused by infection)
If you’ve had pericoronitis or wisdom teeth symptoms, you know the experience of a wisdom tooth ache. It hurts like crazy when eating, it throbs when you’re not, it can cause fevers, severe illness, and can preoccupy your mind like nothing else.
Here’s the worst part. Problems can develop even before you ever see a wisdom tooth start to come into the mouth. How can that happen? It’s all about bacteria in your mouth.
“OK,” I hear you say. “I understand the problem when I can see my tooth start to come in to the mouth. It’s like a baby teething. I can’t brush it or clean it so it’s going to build up plaque bacteria and I can see that that could lead to an infection.”
By the time you see that white, icky sticky plaque bacteria, there are hundreds of thousands of bacteria involved, usually millions. It’s true that plaque bacteria buildup can lead to an infection in the gums around a tooth (not to mention a cavity). However, with an impacted wisdom tooth that you can see, but can’t get to it to clean it, there’s another relevant question.
“Why Aren’t My…
Impacted Wisdom Teeth ALWAYS Infected?”
Great question! The best answer I’ve got is that your immune system is working well locally in that situation most of the time. When you get a wisdom tooth infection, it’s usually because the immune system is losing the battle at that moment in that location. The weird thing is that pericoronitis is almost always caused by a CIRCUMSTANCE rather than a poor immune system.
Let me explain. They’re just teeth. ANY tooth can get pericoronitis if it gets impacted and can’t make it fully into its rightful position in the mouth. It’s just that wisdom teeth (your third molars) are the last teeth to arrive in the mouth and so usually don’t make it. There are several factors that determine whether any tooth will make it into its normal position. These include the size of all your teeth, the size of your jaws, and any local factor that may block a tooth out.
But this isn’t a lesson on tooth impaction. It’s my little blurb to help you understand what’s going on so you can do something about pericoronitis. Before we get to the remedies, we have to solve one more mystery. Remember I said that fully impacted teeth usually cause no problems at all.
If there’s of a tooth coming into the mouth, then why do some people get an infected wisdom tooth?
Wisdom Teeth Symptoms and Bacteria
The answer, again, is about the bacteria in your mouth. They will live in any local pocket or environment where they can thrive. If you brush them off, they can’t thrive. If you floss them off, they can’t thrive. If you rinse them off with any mouthwash that kills them, they can’t thrive. If your immune system is winning the battle, they can’t thrive either… but they can survive!
The answer to the mystery is that although you can’t SEE any signs of a wisdom tooth coming into your mouth, even the slightest MICROSCOPIC opening in your gums may allow bacteria to penetrate into the space around the tooth. If your immune system can’t handle the bacteria overload, then voila, you have pericoronitis or infection in the soft tissues around the crown of the tooth.
It can give you mild pain or a dull ache OR the area may become painful and swollen. If the swelling becomes too severe, it can drastically restrict your ability to swallow or even breathe! Thank goodness it almost never gets that far, but who wants to risk it?
Solve a Wisdom Tooth Problem
Before it Gets Out of Hand…
Because pericoronitis is almost always caused by circumstances where plaque can get trapped and not cleaned away, the best long-term treatment is usually just to have the infected wisdom tooth extracted. To prevent the same thing happening to your other wisdom teeth, we usually recommend just getting them all out if there is no chance they will make it fully into the mouth where they are cleanable.
But what can you do in the short run before your appointment to have your wisdom teeth removed? Most dentists and surgeons will prescribe antibiotics to kill those bacteria that you can’t reach to brush, floss, or rinse away. This can be a great idea in the short term, but not so wise in the long run. In case you haven’t read headline after headline after headline about the overuse of antibiotics being the cause of superbug infections, then let me catch you up.
What are Super-bugs?
Super-bugs are strains of bacteria that survive even the strongest of antibiotics. For years we’ve heard news about MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus). Then we got to hear about VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci), CRE (Carbapenem Resistant Enterobacteriaceae), and CRKP (Carbapenem Resistant Klebsiella Pneumoniae). The latest one to show up on the radar at the time of this writing is the NDM-1 strain that can lead to pneumonia, urinary tract infections, kidney infections, bladder infections, or even blood infections. Holy Schnikies!
So are you sure you want to play the antibiotic card every time your body gets a little localized infection? I know I don’t. I never take antibiotics unless I know my body’s immune system absolutely needs that extra help and my overall health or life may actually be on the line. Pericoronitis is almost never life-threatening.
Because pericoronitis is a local infection that the body almost always gets control of (over a week or two) if you do nothing at all, our real concern is about getting you out of wisdom tooth pain. Nobody wants to live through “hell week” while waiting for the immune system to win that battle. Making matters worse, your dental surgeon can almost never get you in for a wisdom tooth extraction during that time frame.
Infected Wisdom Tooth Home Remedies
That I’ve Always Recommended to Patients:
1. Mildly brush the infected gums with a soft toothbrush to remove as much plaque or food debris as you can.
2. Floss exceptionally well behind your second molar (usually that’s the tooth farthest back in your mouth that you can fully see).
3. Make a very warm salt water solution that mimics the body’s fluids (half teaspoon of salt dissolved in an 8 ounce cup of very warm water). You can swish hard with this to try and break loose some of the plaque and food debris that might have escaped your brushing and flossing.
4. After rinsing vigorously, HOLD that warm water over the affected area until it cools down (30 seconds or so). This can help reduce swelling of the tissues by a process called osmosis.
Until a few years ago, those recommendations helped all but the most extreme cases until I could get them in for surgery to remove the infected wisdom tooth to alter the plaque-trapping circumstance. Since then I’ve found one more fantastic tool.
Rinsing properly with Electrolyzed Oxidizing Water or EO Water is that secret weapon. I’ve talked about this optimized water in several other posts because of its very special ability to kill every bacteria, virus, and single cell organism with which it comes in contact within a reasonable period of time (30 seconds for most bacteria and up to 2 minutes for Bacillus Cereus and other food poisoning bacteria).
The fact that EO Water kills all single cell life forms has been known for decades, but its acidic pH can cause damage to materials that are affected badly by strong acids. Your teeth qualify as a material damaged by this acid IF and ONLY IF you use it incorrectly.
That’s too long of a discussion for this post, but I laid out all the details in my free e-Book that is yours for the asking.
Take a Free Copy of Dr Paul’s Dental e-Book…
CLICK HERE to get a copy of my e-Book and learn how to kill bacteria using it as a mouth rinse, but WITHOUT causing damage to your teeth.
Once you get your e-Book, you’ll know how to safely use EO Water in the fight against the pericoronitis version of infected wisdom teeth. In another post I’ll discuss infected wisdom teeth that might happen AFTER surgery. For those of you who are way ahead of me, it’s going to involve EO Water.
And if you really want to know more details about EO Water, join Colleen and I for our very popular water education webinar. In one of them we discuss the pros and cons of EO Water in great detail, even to the point of how one cardiologist used it to save his own son’s life after a serious infection following, you guessed it, wisdom tooth surgery.
We hope Dr Paul’s article has helped you understand more about an infected wisdom tooth and Pericoronitis and how the right kind of water is an important home remedy!