I'm a 24yo male and I've been having some worrying issues that I think may be related to a long neglected impacted wisdom tooth.
I can't remember exactly how long my wisdom tooth has been impacted, but it's been at least a few years. It's not terribly impacted, it's at least halfway out of the gum and it's not particularly crooked. On rare occasions, the gum around my lower right wisdom tooth will become inflammed for a few days and return to normal on its own. The inflammation has never been particularly bad, with only a little gum swelling and some pain. The pain is never very bad either and is more of a nuisance than anything.
As much as I'm ashamed to admit, I've really let my oral hygiene go in recent years. I barely brush my teeth and have developed some yellowing and mild tartar buildup. When I do brush my teeth, my gums bleed a little, but are otherwise fine.
For the past year or two, the right side of my neck has become a sort of lumpy/enlarged. It's not exactly swollen or anything, it just protrudes a little further than the left side (mostly noticeable when felt by hand) and has a few small lumps in it. The lumps are soft and aren't painful, but they are sensitive and can occasionally become uncomfortable, especially when I turn my head to the right. It feels like a fullness or that the tendons in my neck are stiff or swollen, but they aren't. I now suspect that these lumps have been lymph nodes this whole time.
Recently I've been getting the feeling of discomfort in my neck more often and more intensely. It feels like the entire carotid/jugular area is swollen or inflammed and the upper jaw and temple is sensitive to movement/pressure and touch, but there are no outwardly visible changes. I even get what feels like spasms in the area that run from my neck to my temple. The sensation almost feels like a vein or artery is swollen and twitching or something. These recent irritations have now been accompanied by what feels like a couple of swollen lymph nodes (one in my neck under my jaw and one at the back/base of my head), mild head pressure/headaches and a resurgeance of wisdom tooth inflammation.
My worry is that since my gum irritation has been mild and infrequent, I've neglected it for too long and I've now developed a bad infection that's spread to my neck and lymph nodes. I'm worried that my arteries or neck tissues are infected or have been inflammed for way too long or that my lymph nodes have been enlarged for too long. I've read horror stories of horrible and dangerous bacterial infections from wisdom teeth from either neglect or infections from extractions and I'm worried I've waited too long and am now getting a bad spreading infection. I plan to have a dentist examine the tooth when I can, but I'm afraid of a resulting infection if it isn't handled properly.
I've actually had the tooth examined some time ago by another dentist while it was inflammed. The problem was that the dentist was very brusque and insensitive and seemed to be in a hurry to just get it over with. I said that I thought it might be a little infected and asked if I could take some antibiotics for a bit, just in case. He said no and pushed me to get it extracted in a very exasperated way. Feeling uncomfortable, I decided to not get it extracted. The dentist made a remark about my decision and I went home. The inflammation later subsided on its own. The whole thing left me wary of hurried and unprofessional dentistry.
Now that the inflammation is back (it's been a long time since the last one) and I'm having these other worrying symptoms, I'm planning to see a different (hopefully more patient and considerate) dentist to get examined. In the mean time, I'm worried about dangerous infection/spreading inflammation and was hoping to get some early opinions here.