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Jermaine
VIP
from Singapore asked a question

How can I tell if my wisdom tooth is causing a gum infection? (photo)

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Dental

This little tooth started growing awhile back & then my gum started to ache & I can’t eat or drink water properly (unless I don’t use that side of my mouth to chew or gargle). It looks infected & I’m not sure what’s wrong because after this problem started I’ve also fallen sick (cough & sore throat) so I’m not sure if it has caused this infection? Please advise. And if I do visit the dentist, would it be possible (or necessary) to remove the little tooth? How would that help with the gum infection? Thanks!

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (3)

Hi Jinxuan,

When a person is having wisdom tooth infection, they would normally experience pain and swollen gums.

At times, when the wisdom tooth is not growing properly, it may cause trapping of bacteria around the area that may potentially spread to the throat area.

Rinising with mouthwash or salt water may sometimes help with minor cases.

Other times, wisdom tooth removal may be warranted to prevent more severe problems like teeth decay or jaw bone loss. The dentist will normally need clinical examination and radiograph before advising you on the complexity of the wisdom tooth removal, if it is needed. 

Consult Doctor
0 1698 views 0 Doctors agree 15 Apr 2018

Hello Jermaine, 

Nice photograph! Based on the photograph, the 'small tooth' that you see is a budding / partially erupted wisdom tooth that looks like it is growing sideways.

This is a very common problem with wisdom teeth because they are the last ones to erupt in the mouth which sometimes leads to pain and discomfort because there is not enough space in your mouth to accommodate the new tooth. 

Here is my advise to you based on your symptoms and photo:

1. Consult a dentist, get some medication to deal with the pain and infection before it escalates to a fever or facial swelling for more severe cases. Take an xray to see how the wisdom tooth is growing. 

2. Decide if you want to take the tooth out or not. Sometimes it may not be necessary if the pain is due to the tooth erupting which is a temporary discomfort versus an actual impacted wisdom tooth that should be removed to avoid further complications and discomfort in the future. 

For surgical removal of wisdom tooth, a general price range in $600 - 1250 depending on complexity and clinic. This is medisave claimable for Singaporeans and PRs who have medisave. 

All the best and I hope you feel better really soon! 

Warm Regards 

Dr Beth 

Consult Doctor
0 1683 views 0 Doctors agree 15 Apr 2018

Dear Jermaine,

Thank you for your question! And im sorry to hear that you are in discomfort.

This "little tooth" in question is actually your lower right wisdom tooth. 

The picture shows that the tooth is partially erupted from the gum and is still hidden under the gum flap.

When wisdom teeth begin to erupt out of gum as it is now, it's not unusual for infections to set in.

This is because the small size of the food gets trapped underneath the gum flap, and if it is left uncleaned, the infection of the gum overlying the wisdom tooth.

This condition is called pericoronitis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pericoronitis

If the pericoronitis infection spreads and gets worse, you may experience other symptoms such as a fever, afternoon throat or even swollen lymph nodes and general malaise.

I would strongly encourage you to see your trusted treatment, pros and cons and risks of having wisdom tooth removed, to potentially prevent future bouts of pericoronitis.

I hope this answer helps you and I wish you a speedy recovery.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Gerald Tan

 

Consult Doctor
0 1651 views 0 Doctors agree 17 Apr 2018
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