Symptoms associated with wisdom teeth can vary from slight discomfort to advanced swelling, significant pain, infection, and pus formation. Early treatment will prevent disease and potentially dangerous complications. Emergency dental treatment is recommended when such symptoms begin.
Early inflammation (pericoronitis) is caused by plaque and may cause the following symptoms: pain over the gum near the back teeth, mild swelling of the gum, bleeding, or pain radiating to other teeth, and/or to the head, neck, and ears.
A localized abscess or infection results if the source of inflammation is not treated. Those with an abscess or infection may have increased pain, mild to moderate swelling of the gum, sinus problems, or pus drainage from a gum boil (fistula) often accompanied by a bad taste and a foul smell.
Severe infection occurs when a localized infection persists and spreads to other facial areas. Symptoms include swelling over the face or neck, severe pain, difficulty opening the mouth, pus drainage, fever, general weakness, and breathing or swallowing difficulties if the infection extends to the throat. Such infections may have dangerous consequences if not treated immediately. They can spread to deeper spaces in the head and neck region and potentially reach the brain or heart.
Sometimes pain is caused by adjacent teeth with decay or gum disease that is induced by the wisdom teeth. Crowding of other teeth is also a potential and related symptom.