Wisdom teeth removal is probably the most common oral surgery procedure that people undergo these days. Wisdom teeth are also called third molars because of their type and position. They often need extraction because modern jaws often don’t grow large enough for them, and people rarely lose enough teeth to make room for them before they come in, normally during your late teens or early twenties. 

However, not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed. If you are making regular dental checkups, your dentist will likely tell you whether you need yours removed before they come in. 

Otherwise, if you see these symptoms that your wisdom teeth are causing problems and need an extraction, it’s time to get help. Please contact StarImage Dental Boutique & Oral Surgery for a consultation about wisdom teeth removal in Southlake. 

adult man holding his mouth in pain

Infected and Impacted Wisdom Teeth: What’s the Difference?

Although we’re talking about infected and impacted wisdom teeth because they have similar symptoms and require similar treatment, these are two different conditions. 

An impacted wisdom tooth is one that has hit an obstruction that keeps it from emerging fully from your gums. Most often, the obstruction is another tooth, especially your second molars. An impacted wisdom tooth will likely never become a functional tooth and is more likely to get infected or experience other problems. 

An infected wisdom tooth may or may not be impacted. However, the tooth has developed an infection–the growth of oral bacteria in or around it. 

You may not know from your symptoms whether you have an impacted wisdom tooth or an infected one. What is important is that if you have these symptoms, you should contact an oral surgeon in Southlake to get an evaluation. For more general questions, check out our wisdom teeth FAQs

Red or Swollen Gums

Red or swollen gums are normally a sign of gum disease–also known as periodontal disease–a type of infection. 

However, sometimes your gums might be red and swollen just because they’re irritated. In addition to infection, gum irritation could be linked to pinching gums between a wisdom tooth that is close to the surface and your food when you chew. 

Tender or Bleeding Gums

As with red and swollen gums, tender and bleeding gums can be linked to an infection, or they could be caused by irritation related to chewing, trapped food, and more. 

Remember, it’s not normal for your gums to bleed. If you experience bleeding gums regularly, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong, and you should talk to a dentist about it, whether the bleeding gums are at the back of your mouth near the wisdom teeth or elsewhere. 

Swelling around the Jaw

Infected and impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling for many reasons. The swelling might be directly related to an infection. The infection could be the tooth, gums, or other structures around the teeth. You might also develop a benign tumor around a wisdom tooth. 

Jaw Pain

The swelling caused by wisdom teeth can lead to jaw pain. Sometimes, the movement of the jaw can put pressure on the swollen tissue around the wisdom teeth, which can be painful. Other times, the swelling may put pressure on jaw structures, causing discomfort in them. You might also develop unhealthy biting and chewing habits to compensate for pain or disarrangement of your teeth. 

Difficulty Opening Your Mouth

Jaw pain might make it hard for you to open your mouth. Other times, you might have such bad swelling that it interferes with the function of your jaw muscles and/or joint. Sometimes an infection can spread from wisdom teeth to your jaw joint, causing pain or dysfunction. 

Drifting, Crowded, or Crooked Teeth

An impacted wisdom tooth is often butting up against a neighboring tooth. As it tries to make room for itself to emerge, it pushes on the tooth. This can make it drift, leading to crowding or crooked teeth. If your teeth seem to be getting more crowded or crooked in your late teens or early twenties, it’s time to get evaluated for impacted wisdom teeth. 

Food Getting Stuck and Difficult to Remove

An impacted wisdom tooth can create the perfect spot for food to get stuck. The angled tooth can have a space underneath it, or the tooth might develop a hole literally in the tooth that food can enter. A hole in the tooth can lead to infection. If you constantly have food getting stuck behind your second molars that is hard to remove, it might be an impacted or infected wisdom tooth. 

Bad Breath or Unpleasant Taste in the Mouth

An infected or impacted wisdom tooth can cause persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. This might be related to infection since bacterial infections are often by anaerobic bacteria, which produce foul-smelling and -tasting sulfur byproducts. 

Bad breath might also be coming from trapped food, which is rotting in your mouth. 

Pus Coming from the Gums or Tooth

Infected teeth and gums can lead to an accumulation of pus in your tooth or gums. Pus is a combination of bacteria, their excrement, and your body’s immune cells responding to the infection. If you see this coming from your teeth or gums, it’s a sign you’ve got an infection. 


Fever is one of your body’s defense mechanisms for dealing with infection. It’s also a major warning sign that what might have been a local infection in your mouth is affecting your entire body. When a dental infection leads to a fever, you should treat it as an emergency. It could indicate that you are developing serious, potentially fatal complications. 

Wisdom Teeth Removal in Southlake

All these are signs that it’s time to get troublesome wisdom teeth removed. At StarImage Dental Boutique & Oral Surgery in Southlake, we can remove multiple wisdom teeth during a single visit, depending on your situation. We can also remove wisdom teeth before they start causing problems. 

To schedule an appointment for wisdom teeth removal in Southlake, please call (817) 587-4566 or use our online form today. StarImage Dental Boutique & Oral Surgery is located just off Southlake Boulevard near the CISD Aquatics Center.