Why Severe Life-Threatening Infection can Cause Delay in Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom tooth pain often indicates an infection, and that can create problems if a patient needs an immediate extraction. However, only if severe life-threatening infection is present, it may be necessary to delay wisdom tooth removal until the systemic infection and any airway compromise is treated.

When undergoing any surgery, including wisdom teeth extraction, the patient must be healthy enough to tolerate the surgery. If the surgeon moves forward with the procedure while severe systemic infection is present, and there is an emergency airway compromise where a patient can not breath adequately, then this could lead to death if the airway is not treated first in sequence and the systemic infection as well.  Keep in mind though, that the curative treatment of an infection is removing the SOURCE of the infection, which is the abscessed tooth in this case. 

When undergoing any surgery, including wisdom teeth extraction, the patient must be healthy enough to tolerate the surgery.

If such a severe infection is present, the patient will need an emegency tracheostomy, aggressive IV antibiotics, multiple incision and drainage areas in the operating room as well as hospital admission.  Once the systemic infection is brought under control and the airway has been secured the patient will need to first complete a course of antibiotics, lasting for at least a week or two, before they can have the wisdom teeth removed.

Understandably, patients want an immediate resolution to the problem when they are experiencing significant discomfort. To prevent scenarios such as this from occurring, many patients prefer to have an oral surgeon remove their wisdom teeth before any symptoms such as wisdom tooth pain or swelling develop.

The oral surgeon can examine the bone structure via x-ray to determine if the teeth are impacted or the likelihood that they could become problematic at some point. In a significant number of patients, the wisdom teeth do become impacted because the jaw is too small for them to erupt properly.

Wisdom teeth removal is a fairly common and routine dental surgery. It is typically performed in an outpatient setting, often an oral surgeon’s office, and most patients recover after a few days.

Before performing the wisdom tooth extraction, your oral surgeon will gather a medical history to identify any other conditions that could pose a problem during the surgery or your recovery period. The oral surgeon will also review any risks and their likelihood with you prior to the procedure.

Additionally, if you are prone to infections to begin with, your oral surgeon may recommend other prophylactic measures to reduce your risk of a post-operative infection. Be sure to discuss any concerns in this area with the oral surgeon.

Patients who want to avoid facing a delay in wisdom tooth extraction due to infection may want to be more proactive with the procedure. Contact our skilled team at Chicago’s best dental surgery clinic, ORA® Oral Surgery & Implant Studio, to learn more about your options.