What should I do next for a wisdom tooth infection that is still causing pain?
I am a 19 yo male and I have a wisdom tooth infection on my bottom left side. I visited the dentist once, who cleaned my teeth and gave me antibiotics for 1 week (amoxicillin). After finishing the antibiotic course, the pain is completely gone. 2 weeks later, the pain is back. I brushed and used mouthwash and saltwater - all off these do not work. When I brush the gum area, it's also painful and there's a sticky white liquid coming out from it. What is the white liquid, and what can I do to stop the pain?
You must have quite a high pain threshold considering you have already had wisdom tooth pain once! To answer your questions:
1. The white liquid is most likely pus - this is your body's way of trying to fight the bacteria causing the pain and infection. However, pus is also an indication that the infection is getting worse considering you have already had one completed course of antibiotics
2. How to stop the pain? More likely than not, you need to get this bottom left wisdom tooth taken out.
Wisdom teeth extractions always sound like a scary ordeal which many people are fearful of and understandably so. However, be reassured that you would not feel the pain during the process as adequate local anesthetic will be given and it is important that the area is numb enough before starting. This is to ensure your comfort. You would also be prescribed painkillers and a second round of antibiotics to ensure that there are no post extraction complications such as infection to the site.
Take heart in the fact that being 19yo, you are young and young patients always have a very quick recovery of a week though healing is subject to the individual so this varies from time to time.
My best advice to you would be to find a dentist you are comfortable with and get the wisdom tooth out. If it is a surgical procedure, it is medisave claimable and you can use your medisave or parent's or siblings medisave to pay for it, inclusive of consultation, wisdom tooth surgery, x ray and medication.
Hope this helps and all the best!
It sounds as though you have pericoronitis of the lower left wisdom tooth. This is an infection caused usually by food trapping and bacteria build-up underneath the gum flap covering the wisdom tooth.
The white liquid you can express from the infected area is pus, which is a combination of bacteria and dead white blood cells fighting the infection.
Since you have already had 2 episodes of infection, it would be a good idea to consider removing the wisdom tooth to get rid of the food trap once and for all.
Removing such a tooth will also help prevent decay and gum infections affecting the adjacent molar in the future.
Antibiotics do indeed help to clear the acute infection symptoms most of the times. In fact, some of my patients who originally scheduled for the wisdom tooth removal will call back to cancel the procedure as the pain has gone away after the course of antibiotics!! Haha.
Unfortunately, a large number of them will return in the near future complaining of similar symptoms ( often more severe) and they will still need to have them removed ultimately in the end.
Try not to allow yourself to end up in this viscious cycle.
Have a dentist assess your wisdom tooth in detail with radiographs, explain the situation in detail to you, consider the risks and benefits of its removal and plan the treatment from there on.
Although i can totally understand patient's reluctance of undergoing any form of extraction or surgery, as Dr Toh rightfully mentioned, early intervention is often a better option if its clearly identified to be a chronic situation.
Moreover, given your age, I'm sure your recovery from the potential removal will be swift too. We all want to avoid complications that may arise as a result of the ill effects of the infection to the adjacent teeth if left untreated.
I hope you will be able to find a solution to your wisdom tooth problem soon.
Dr Chris Mak