What Is Pericoronitis?

Man on a smartphone calling dentist for help with pericoronitis pain- Stockton, CAWisdom teeth – This third (and final) set of molars that some people get can cause complications outside of just traditional impaction. One of the more common conditions they can cause is called pericoronitis.

While not a life-threatening condition, partially erupted wisdom tooth problems that lead to pericoronitis can become quite painful. If the swollen gum tissue caused by this condition erupts, minor oral surgery may be necessary.

The dental experts at California Oral Surgery, Stockton, CA have lots of experience working on wisdom teeth and other painful conditions these can cause, like pericoronitis. For more information about how we can help you, please contact us today!

Below we highlight some of the things you want to know about acute pericoronitis, the severe symptoms this wisdom tooth infection can bring to the table, and a handful of other things you want to know if you have a problem with your lower wisdom teeth.

What Exactly Is Pericoronitis?

As highlighted a moment ago, pericoronitis develops when our wisdom teeth partially erupted through the gum tissue in our mouths.

Instead of fully presenting themselves (making it easy for tooth extraction) they remain covered and protected by our gumline. 

Inevitably soft-tissue growth happens over these partially erupted wisdom teeth, inviting bacteria to take root and cause all kinds of oral health issues for us.

Bacteria can quickly cause severe infection and swelling. It may even cause the entire mouth to swell up with the pain extending along our jaw down into our cheeks and even throughout our neck.

Root Causes And Common Symptoms Of Pericoronitis

The root cause of pericoronitis involves wisdom tooth immersion that never erupts through the gum line.

Instead, patients have to worry about partially erupted wisdom tooth problems with gum tissue that partially remains, enclosing these wisdom teeth.

These partially erupted tooth pockets allow bacteria to grow and multiply in, leading to infection, swelling, and a whole host of other problems.

Common Symptoms

The more common pericoronitis symptoms are:

  • Bad breath
  • Jaw spasms
  • Swollen tissue throughout the mouth (but particularly on the gums)
  • Bad taste buds
  • Fever and a loss of appetite

Severe Symptoms

There are more severe symptoms of pericoronitis that you should be on the lookout for.

These symptoms include:

  • Extreme swelling in the gum tissue
  • A pus-filled discharge
  • Lockjaw issues or difficulty chewing and talking
  • Swollen lymph nodes (especially in the neck)

Regardless of the severity of the symptoms you are noticing, if you feel like your wisdom tooth problems have led to pericoronitis it’s important to reach out to your dentist. 

You can count on the experienced oral surgeons here at California Oral Surgery in Stockton, CA, for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Highlighting Effective Pericoronitis Treatments

If your dentist recognizes any of the symptoms highlighted above, necessary treatments and interventions will be recommended.

It’s best to prevent pericoronitis from establishing a foothold whenever possible.

But when overlapping gum flap issues have already presented themselves, the next best thing is to prevent spreading infection – and that means treating the impacted gum tissue and wisdom tooth problem ASAP.

Effective Pain Management

Pain management is often first on the list of interventions, particularly when chronic symptoms are recognized.

Dental health experts like ours will look at the gum flap to find the affected tooth, track down the partially corrupted tooth and uncover the underlying issue.

From there, a quick oral rinse is usually recommended and then we provide medical advice.

Sometimes a little more than warm salt water is needed to calm the inflammation down and lessen any pain. In other situations, over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may be necessary following the tooth extraction to stop the spread of infection completely.

Removing the Flap Covering a Tooth

If pericoronitis has spread beyond a smaller area and cannot be treated with an oral rinse it may be necessary to remove the overlapping gum flap and clean out the area more directly.

This can be done with minimally invasive solutions that are followed up by home remedies and oral rinses to really keep the impacted area clean.

At the end of the day, the idea here is to get rid of the gum tissue that overlaps and to prevent the pockets of infection from establishing themselves.

Removing The Tooth Itself

Sometimes the only way to effectively remedy a partially erupted tooth is to conduct surgery and remove the tooth itself. Depending on how the tooth has erupted will affect the cost of the extraction.

This will only be recommended after a clinical evaluation has occurred and isn’t always necessary to treat pericoronitis.

Even still, those who want to guarantee that food debris, food particles, and other issues aren’t going to cause problems with the third molars may want to move forward with tooth extraction ASAP.

Not only will these patients never have to worry about dealing with this condition in the future, but they won’t have to worry about their wisdom teeth causing any problems going forward, either.

Closing Thoughts

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to predict who is most likely to struggle with developing pericoronitis later on outside of those that already feel their wisdom teeth are merging.

This is why it is so important to practice good oral hygiene to prevent pericoronitis from manifesting in the first place. A regular swish with warm salt water can go a long way towards preventing this kind of infection.

As soon as you begin to notice symptoms of this condition impacting your third molars, promptly get a hold of professional maxillofacial surgeon experts.

For more information about how we here at California Oral Surgery can help you with pericoronitis issues or any other wisdom tooth problems, please contact us today!

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