Three years ago, I began feeling pain in my lower wisdom teeth. And now, at 52 years old, I had all four teeth extracted. It has been a painful recovery. Two weeks after surgery, the painful lump in my lower jaw hurt even more. My oral surgeon prescribed another antibiotic, but it did not help. I returned to the office, and the surgeon cleaned the socket and prescribed more antibiotics. Although the lump is smaller, it is somewhat tender and hurts sometimes. I have two days of antibiotics left. Is it possible that some infection is left in the socket? I am scheduled for Zoom whitening in November, and I want to do whatever I can to finish it before the holidays. Thank you. Luke from Kansas City
Thank you for your question.
Dr. Finley would need to examine your tooth socket to determine if it is still infected. But your description sounds that you need to continue antibiotics after your current prescription runs out. Contact your oral surgeon and explain that you have not healed completely and need more antibiotics. If your symptoms do not improve in a few days after the new prescription, keep taking the medication to avoid a relapse.
How Long After Wisdom Teeth Removal Can a Tooth Infection Last?
A tooth infection can last several weeks after wisdom tooth removal. And an infection can begin as late as three to four weeks after removal. At times, patients stop taking prescribed antibiotics too soon. Or they assume that a lingering infection will go away if they have taken all their medication. But you need to take antibiotics until the infection is gone to prevent the bacteria from growing and becoming antibiotic-resistant.
When Should You Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Although each patient’s case is different, you should have your wisdom teeth removed as early in life as possible if they are problematic. Even if you do not feel pain, your dentist should monitor your wisdom teeth to see their position. If teeth are impacted or so far back in your mouth that they are challenging to clean, an infection will develop eventually.
Ask your dentist or oral surgeon to remove your wisdom teeth before they get infected or begin to hurt. The American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons confirms that tooth roots grow deeper and jawbone hardens as we age. Both factors can make wisdom teeth removal and recovery more challenging.
We wish you a progressive recovery. After you are in good oral health, you can begin Zoom whitening treatment without a relapse.
David Finley, DDS of Monroe, LA, sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is an accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry.