I am 38 years old. My lower bottom wisdom tooth is part ways out, and the gum surrounding it is very very sore. It did get infected 2 weeks ago, and I was put on anti biotics. I have been off the antibiotics for a week now,and I am feeling alot of discomfort again. Is this pain because it is growing, or should I get it removed. I am deathly afraid of getting it removed. With reading the complications of getting them removed when you are my age, should I be concerned? Please contact me soon. Thank you.
Sandra in Saskatchewan
You need to get this wisdom tooth removed, and the sooner the better.
What you have done by taking antibiotics without getting the tooth out is that you’ve helped create antibiotic-resistant bacteria in your infected wisdom tooth. If you keep doing that, you’ll end up with an infection that is impossible to control, and infections in this facial area are very close to your brain, so they can actually become life-threatening. And it’s impossible to get rid of this kind of infection with antibiotics alone
Yes, it would have been easier to have had them out when you were in your early twenties. But 38 isn’t all that old. They don’t start getting really difficult until you’re up in your forties or fifties. Get a competent oral surgeon, and you should be fine.
But brace yourself for their legal warnings about every little thing that could possibly go wrong. They have to give those in order to protect themselves legally. But the risk of doing nothing is truly your greatest risk at this point.
Meanwhile, I would recommend that you ask the dentist for a blunt irrigation needle and irrigate the pocket under the flap of tissue that surrounds the wisdom tooth with a gentle, warm rinse of a mild salt water solution, maybe with a little hydrogen peroxide mixed in to help bubble out the infected material. Do that after every time you eat, and it will help keep the infection temporarily under control for a couple of weeks until you can get it out, and that way you won’t be breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
And get ALL your wisdom teeth extracted. If you have one infected tooth, the others will eventually get infected also. You’re lucky this is happening now rather than waiting until you’re fifty or something.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.