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Gum infection

Gum infection is a common complication after tooth extraction. If treated properly, it does not cause further damage.

Tooth extraction is sometimes required in order to eliminate one or more bad teeth so they cannot damage the surrounding teeth, gum and bone structure. In most cases, the reasons for tooth extraction are tooth decay, infection and impacted teeth. A tooth sometimes needs to be extracted because a gum infection has damaged bone structure and the tooth cannot be saved anymore.

Causes of gum infection after tooth extraction

Tooth extractions, especially if done properly and professionally, do not have complications or consequences, however, in some cases a gum infection may develop in the site where the tooth was. When a tooth is removed from the jaw, it leaves a hole in the gum. This makes it possible for the bacteria to introduce themselves to the wound and to the bloodstream, causing an infection. This can be prevented by following strictly the dentist’s recommendations for tooth removal aftercare.

When a tooth is removed, a blood clot is soon formed in the place where the tooth used to be. The clot prevents bleeding but it also protects the site from bacteria and food traces. If the clot is not properly formed or if it is dislodged, for example with food, sucking motions or rinsing, it leaves the wound open and susceptible to infections that occur because the bacteria or food debris penetrate the gum tissue.

Symptoms of gum infection after tooth extraction

After a tooth is been removed, it is normal for some bleeding to occur. The bleeding usually stops several hours following the procedure, but if it persists for over 48 hours after the tooth has been extracted, it may indicate an infection. Other symptoms include pain, foul smell, discharge and swelling of the gums or the face. Infection after wisdom teeth extraction may also cause fever.

Treatment

In case the symptoms mentioned above are present after a tooth extraction, it is best to see the dentist who will determine if the gum got infected. If the infection has occurred, he or she will probably prescribe oral antibiotics. They may also recommend rinsing with mouthwash, saline solution or turmeric solution, in order to clean and disinfect the area and prevent bacteria growth. Ice packs are also recommended to reduce pain and swelling.

Gum infections are not dangerous if treated as soon as diagnosed, but they can be prevented by following the recommendations for tooth extraction aftercare regarding hygiene, rest, appropriate foods, and medications.

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