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What Is Pericoronitis?

May 18, 2018
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Wisdom teeth, which are also known as third molars, usually start to erupt from your gums during the late teen years and early twenties. These teeth are the last to emerge and sometimes there is not enough room in the mouth for them. If this is the situation, the teeth may come into your mouth partially or not at all. A partial eruption of a wisdom tooth can create a flap of gum tissue. The flap can trap bits of food and bacteria. Pericoronitis is the condition when the tissue around the partially erupted tooth becomes inflamed from a buildup of bacteria in the area. 

Symptoms and Prevention

Symptoms of pericoronitis usually include red painful, swollen gum tissue near the tooth. Chewing can become difficult because it can become easy to bit down on the inflamed tissue. The buildup of bacteria can create bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. There may be a discharge of pus from the infected gums. If the condition is allowed to progress, it can lead to swollen lymph nodes under the chin, muscle spasms in the jaw, or swelling in the face. In most cases, pericoronitis will continue to be a problem until the tooth creating the flap is removed. However, keeping the area free of food and bacteria can help. Antibiotics and warm salt water rinses can also help to manage the condition.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

As stated above, pericoronitis typically will not go away until the tooth emerges completely, the tissue is removed, or the tooth is removed. When pericoronitis is associated with a wisdom tooth, extraction is often the best course of action. Wisdom teeth often come with other negative effects aside from just inflammation of the gums. When there is no room in the mouth for wisdom teeth, they can push against the rest of the teeth causing damage, pain, or misalignment.

Pericoronitis is a complication of erupting wisdom teeth

Wisdom tooth extraction can help eliminate some of the side effects, like pericoronitis. To schedule a consultation with our experts, call Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry of Kansas City, MO, today at 816-427-4018.