Family Dentistry |5 min read

Infection After Wisdom Teeth Removal: Understanding the Risks and Prevention

A male patient sits in the dentist's chair and indicates his pain

Are you concerned about your recovery following wisdom tooth removal?

Having your wisdom teeth removed is a common dental procedure.

While the surgery itself may be relatively straightforward, there are certain risks associated with the extraction, and one of the most significant concerns is the possibility of infection after wisdom teeth removal.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the topic of infection, understand its causes, symptoms, and treatment options, and provide you with essential tips to prevent such infections from occurring.

Infection after wisdom teeth removal: what you need to know

Removing wisdom teeth involves the extraction of the third molars, located at the back of the mouth.

This procedure is often necessary when these teeth become impacted or cause other oral health issues.

Although removing wisdom teeth is generally safe and effective, infections can occur during the healing.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and appropriate preventive measures is crucial for maintaining oral health after the extraction.

What causes infection after wisdom teeth removal?

After wisdom teeth removal, an infection can be attributed to various factors. Let’s examine some of the common causes:

Poor oral hygiene

Neglecting proper oral hygiene practices is one of the primary culprits behind post-operative infections.

Failing to maintain good oral hygiene can accumulate bacteria, food particles, and plaque, which can easily cause an infection at the extraction site.

To mitigate this risk, dentists recommend gently brushing your teeth, including the extraction site, after the first 24 hours of surgery.

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid vigorous rinsing or spitting to prevent dislodging the blood clot that forms in the socket.

Bacterial contamination

Another common cause of infection after wisdom teeth removal is bacterial contamination.

The mouth is teeming with bacteria, and any disruption or breach in the surgical site can introduce harmful bacteria, leading to an infection.

To minimize the risk of bacterial contamination, your dentist will likely prescribe antibiotics after the surgery. It’s essential to strictly adhere to the prescribed dosage and complete the entire course of antibiotics to combat any potential infection effectively.

Dry socket

Dry socket, scientifically known as alveolar osteitis, is a condition that can increase the likelihood of infection after wisdom teeth removal.

It occurs when the blood clot that forms in the socket dislodges or dissolves prematurely, exposing the underlying nerves and bone.

Dry socket can be extremely painful and leaves the extraction site susceptible to infection.

Avoid activities that can dislodge the blood clot, such as using straws, smoking, or excessive rinsing.

Recognizing the symptoms of infection after wisdom teeth removal

For early detection and prompt treatment, it’s critical to be aware of the symptoms and signs of infection after wisdom tooth removal.

If you experience any of the following, contact your dentist immediately:

Pain: Persistent or worsening pain around the extraction site can indicate an infection.

Swelling: Swelling in the gums, cheeks, or face can indicate infection.

Foul odor or taste: If you notice a foul odor or taste in your mouth, it may indicate an infection.

Fever: A fever, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, can suggest the presence of an infection.

Difficulty opening mouth: It may be a sign of infection if you experience difficulty opening your mouth or have limited jaw movement.

Pus or discharge: The presence of pus or discharge around the extraction site clearly indicates infection.

It’s important to note that experiencing one or more symptoms does not necessarily mean you have an infection.

However, it is essential to consult with your dentist to evaluate your condition and receive appropriate treatment if needed.

Treatment options for infection after wisdom teeth removal

If you are diagnosed with an infection after wisdom teeth removal, your dentist will recommend a suitable treatment plan based on the severity of the infection.

The following are common treatment options:


Antibiotics are often prescribed to combat the infection and prevent it from spreading further.

It is crucial to take the prescribed antibiotics as instructed by your dentist.

Be sure to complete the entire course of medication, even if your symptoms improve before the medication is finished.

Warm saltwater rinse

Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Mix half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and gently swish the solution in your mouth for about 30 seconds, and repeat this several times a day, particularly after meals.

Pain relief medication

Over-the-counter pain relief medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation.

Follow the instructions on the packaging and consult with your dentist or pharmacist if you have any concerns or medical conditions.

Drainage of abscess

In some cases, if an abscess has formed, your dentist may need to drain it to remove the accumulated pus and alleviate pain and pressure.

This procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia to ensure your comfort.

Surgical debridement

Surgical debridement may be necessary for severe infections that do not respond to other treatments.

This involves removing infected tissue and thoroughly cleaning the extraction site to promote healing and prevent further complications.


Infection after wisdom teeth removal is a potential complication that can occur during the healing process.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of infection and promote a smooth recovery.

Remember to maintain good oral hygiene, follow post-operative instructions, and seek prompt dental care from Palms Dentistry if you suspect an infection.

With proper care and attention, you can ensure a successful and infection-free recovery after wisdom teeth removal.


Don’t let infections spoil your recovery! Call us today to learn how to deal with this issue.

Schedule an Appointment


Your Palms Dentistry team is proud to provide a better dental experience in Simpsonville, SC, Greenville, SC, and surrounding areas, including; Mauldin, Fountain Inn, Laurens, Clinton, and Gray Court.

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *