Pericoronitis is one of the common reasons for wisdom teeth removal, which an oral surgery clinic typically performs. You’re likely to get this dental disorder if your third molars erupt partially or don’t come in at all. Here are five things to know about pericoronitis.
1. What is pericoronitis?
Pericoronitis is a condition in which the gum tissue around impacted teeth becomes swollen and infected. In severe cases of pericoronitis, the infection and inflammation may extend to your cheeks and neck.
2. What causes it?
Pericoronitis happens when the gum tissue surrounding an impacted tooth trap food particles, debris, and plaque around it. The flap of soft tissue around the partially emerged tooth can then become a hotbed for bacteria. The germs irritate the gum tissue leading to inflammation and tenderness.
3. What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of this dental disorder include infection, pain, and swelling in the soft tissue. There is unpleasant mouth odor if pus leaks from the infected gums. If the infection extends beyond your jaw, you may have difficulties opening your mouth. The lymph nodes in your neck may also get swollen.
4. How do dentists diagnose pericoronitis?
A clinical exam can help diagnose pericoronitis. Your dentist will examine your mouth and note your symptoms. The gums around the problem area are likely to be red, swollen or draining pus. An x-ray can also help determine if your third molars are erupting normally or not.
5. What are the treatment options?
Oral hygiene, warm salt water rinses, pain relievers, and oral antibiotics can help manage mild cases of pericoronitis. If the swelling and pain are severe or if an infection occurs, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons treat pericoronitis by removing the infected gum flap or extracting the third molar.
Good oral hygiene could help prevent the trapping of food and germs under gum tissue. The flap of gum tissue on an emerging tooth, however, won’t go away until the tooth erupts naturally or until the tissue is surgically removed. If there isn’t enough room for your wisdom tooth to come in properly, consider a tooth extraction.