Wisdom Teeth Swelling

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Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last to emerge in the back of the mouth. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25, though some people never develop them. Wisdom teeth can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling when they emerge. This article will look at the causes of wisdom teeth swelling, symptoms, and treatment options.

Wisdom Teeth Swelling Causes

Wisdom tooth swelling can happen for a number of reasons. Impaction of wisdom teeth is one of the most common causes. When the tooth does not have enough room to emerge properly, it becomes stuck or partially emerges. Swelling, pain, and discomfort may result.

Gum disease is another common cause of wisdom tooth swelling. When wisdom teeth emerge, they can be difficult to clean properly, resulting in bacteria and plaque buildup. This can result in inflamed and swollen gums.

An infection can cause wisdom tooth swelling in some cases. This can happen when bacteria get into the gum tissue around the tooth, causing an abscess. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that causes pain, swelling, and fever.

Wisdom Teeth Swelling Symptoms

Depending on the cause, the symptoms of wisdom tooth swelling can vary. However, some common symptoms are as follows:

  • Back of the mouth pain and discomfort
  • Gingival swelling
  • Gum irritation or inflammation
  • Opening the mouth is difficult.
  • Jaw discomfort or stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Breath that stinks
  • The gums are producing pus or discharge.
  • Fever
  • If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult with a dentist or oral surgeon.

Wisdom Teeth Swelling Treatment Options

The treatment options for swelling of the wisdom teeth are determined by the cause and severity of the symptoms. In some cases, no treatment is required, and the swelling and discomfort will resolve on their own. If the symptoms are severe or do not improve with time, there are several treatment options.

Pain relief

Over-the-counter pain killers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, are one of the most common treatments for wisdom tooth swelling. These medications can both reduce wisdom teeth swelling and relieve wisdom tooth pain to a degree.

Wisdom tooth extraction

Wisdom teeth swelling that is caused by an impacted wisdom tooth may require wisdom tooth removal to bring the swelling down.

An oral surgeon will typically perform this procedure, numbing the area with a local anaesthetic before making incisions and removing the teeth. Following the procedure, it is critical to follow your dentist’s post-operative care instructions, which include resting, using ice packs, and avoiding certain foods and activities for a few days.

Scaling and root planing

If the swelling is caused by gum disease, your dentist may recommend scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning procedure. This includes removing plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums, as well as smoothing out the tooth roots to aid in gum reattachment. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to aid in the fight against the infection and to reduce inflammation.

Other treatment options

If the swelling is caused by an infection or abscess, your dentist may need to drain the pus and treat the infection with antibiotics. A root canal procedure may be required in some cases to remove the infected pulp from the tooth.

How to prevent swollen wisdom teeth

While it is not always possible to prevent wisdom tooth swelling, there are a few things you can do to reduce your chances:

  • Brush twice a day, floss daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash to maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Schedule regular cleanings and checkups with your dentist.
  • Consume a healthy diet that is high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals and low in sugar.
  • Avoid smoking and using tobacco products, which can increase your chances of developing gum disease and other oral health issues.
  • Schedule an appointment with your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in the back of your mouth.
  • If your dentist advises you to have your wisdom teeth extracted, do so before they become impacted or cause significant swelling or pain.

Final thoughts on wisdom teeth swelling

To summarise, wisdom tooth swelling is a common and unpleasant experience for many young adults. While the causes of swelling vary, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary.

You can reduce your risk of developing wisdom teeth swelling and other oral health problems by practising good oral hygiene, going to the dentist on a regular basis, and responding quickly to any pain or discomfort in the back of your mouth.


Q: How long does wisdom teeth swelling last?

A: The time it takes for wisdom teeth to swell depends on the individual and the cause of the swelling. Mild swelling typically lasts a few days to a week, whereas severe cases can take up to two weeks or longer to resolve.

If the swelling is caused by impacted wisdom teeth that must be removed, it may last for several days after the procedure. Most patients, however, report that the swelling subsides within a few days and gradually improves over the course of a week or two.

It is important to note that factors such as proper oral hygiene, following post-operative care instructions, and avoiding certain foods or activities that may irritate the affected area can all influence the duration of swelling. If you have swelling in your wisdom teeth, consult with your dentist or oral surgeon to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment options.

Q: Does wisdom tooth gum swelling go away?

A: Wisdom tooth gum swelling can resolve, but the length of time it takes depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the swelling. If the swelling is caused by gum disease, it may take several weeks of good oral hygiene and treatment for the swelling to go away. Deep cleaning procedures, antibiotics, and other interventions to address the underlying infection may be used.

If the swelling is caused by impacted wisdom teeth, it may not resolve on its own and may necessitate tooth removal. It is normal to experience some swelling and discomfort after the procedure, but following post-operative care instructions and taking prescribed medications can help to manage the symptoms and promote healing.

It is important to note that if wisdom tooth gum swelling is not treated, it can cause infection, abscesses, and damage to adjacent teeth or gums. As a result, if you are experiencing wisdom tooth gum swelling or other symptoms, you should seek immediate evaluation and treatment from a dental professional.

Q: How do you know if your wisdom teeth are infected?

A: Wisdom teeth infections can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

Back of the mouth pain or discomfort: This may be a dull, throbbing pain that radiates to other areas of the mouth or jaw.

Infected wisdom teeth can cause swelling and redness of the gums and cheeks near the affected tooth. The affected area may also be red and tender to touch.

Difficulty opening the mouth: In some cases, infected wisdom teeth can cause pain or discomfort, making it difficult to open the mouth or chew.

Infected wisdom teeth can cause a foul odour or taste in the mouth, which can be an indication of an abscess or other infection.

Fever: If the infection is severe, a fever may develop, indicating that the body is fighting an infection.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is critical that you seek immediate evaluation and treatment from a dental professional. If left untreated, infected wisdom teeth can cause further complications such as damage to adjacent teeth or gums, the formation of an abscess, or the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.