woman in pain holding left side of jaw

Signs of Wisdom Tooth Infection

TeamWisdom Tooth Infection

It’s not a pleasant experience when your wisdom teeth come in, but in most cases, any discomfort is tolerable and temporary. When a wisdom tooth is infected, it’s a different story. Suddenly, the minor irritation becomes an intense, throbbing pain that makes it difficult to eat and sleep. Unfortunately, the location of the wisdom teeth at the back of the mouth, combined with the fact that they often come in impacted or partially-impacted, makes them vulnerable to infection. Here are signs of wisdom tooth infection to be aware of.


Just as with an infection anywhere in the body, one of the signs that you might have an infected wisdom tooth is a fever. This happens because your temperature becomes elevated whenever your body is fighting an infection. If you don’t have a fever, you may instead experience chills. While a fever doesn’t automatically mean you have an infected wisdom tooth, if you’re also suffering from any of the other symptoms described below, your odds are greater.

Sore Gums

It’s normal to have sore gums when your wisdom teeth are coming in, but there’s a distinct difference between the normal discomfort and tenderness caused by tooth eruption and an infection. With infected wisdom teeth, you’ll feel intense, throbbing pain that worsens when you bite down. You may not be able to floss or brush in the area around the tooth.

Jaw Pain

An infected wisdom tooth can also cause pain in your jaw. You might have muscle spasms and find it difficult to open and close your mouth.

Swelling and Redness

In addition to being sore, the gum tissue surrounding an infected wisdom tooth is typically red and swollen. As the infection spreads throughout the jaw, face, and lymph nodes, you may notice swelling and tenderness to the touch there too.

Difficulty Eating

Between the throbbing pain and the swelling, it’s common for an infected wisdom tooth to make it hard to eat. Both chewing and biting put pressure on the area, which makes the pain even worse. It’s also common for patients to feel queasy and lose their appetites due to the infection.

Foul Odor and Taste

It’s also common for the tissue around an infected wisdom tooth to seep pus, causing a foul taste in your mouth, bad breath, and a lack of appetite. This can be temporarily relieved by rinsing with warm salt water, but it’s a tell-tale sign that you should see your dentist right away for an examination.

Treating Wisdom Tooth Infections

An infected wisdom tooth must be treated with urgency, as it’s possible for the infection to spread to other areas of the body, which can potentially be fatal. When you come to our office, most often we can treat you the same day. We have the ability to provide IV antibiotics and provide drainage of the abscess and where indicated an extraction the same day under general anesthesia. .

Make an Appointment for an Evaluation

Do you think you might have an infected wisdom tooth? contact us today at 240-813-9111 to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.