Pericoronitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding a partially erupted tooth. It most commonly affects the wisdom teeth, which are the last teeth to emerge in the back of the mouth.
Causes of pericoronitis
Pericoronitis is typically caused by the accumulation of bacteria and food particles beneath the gum flap covering a partially erupted tooth, usually a wisdom tooth. Here are some of the most common causes of pericoronitis:
Poor oral hygiene: When the teeth and gums are not properly cleaned, bacteria can accumulate and cause infections, including pericoronitis.
Impacted teeth: A tooth may become impacted if there is not enough room in the jaw for it to emerge properly, leading to a partial eruption and the formation of a gum flap that can trap bacteria and food particles.
Trauma: In some cases, pericoronitis may be caused by trauma to the gums or teeth, such as from a blow to the face or a dental procedure.
Crowding: When the teeth are crowded, they may push against one another and cause a partially erupted tooth to become trapped under the gum tissue.
Immune system disorders: Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to infections, including pericoronitis.
Overall, maintaining good oral hygiene and seeking prompt dental care when experiencing symptoms of pericoronitis can help prevent the condition from occurring or becoming more serious.
Symptoms of pericoronitis
The symptoms of pericoronitis can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and can include:
- pain or discomfort around the back of the jaw, particularly near the partially erupted tooth.
- swelling and redness of the gums surrounding the tooth.
- a bad taste in the mouth or foul odor from the affected area.
- difficulty opening the mouth or swallowing.
- generalized soreness of the jaw or throat.
- fever, which may indicate that the infection has spread beyond the area of the affected tooth.
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
Symptoms may develop slowly over time or appear suddenly, and they can become progressively worse if left untreated. Pericoronitis may also recur if the underlying cause is not addressed. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to seek prompt dental care to prevent complications and manage the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.
Treatment options for Pericoronitis
The treatment options for pericoronitis depend on the severity of the condition and may include the following:
Antibiotics: If there is an infection present, antibiotics may be prescribed to help clear it up.
Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help to manage the pain and discomfort associated with pericoronitis.
Warm salt water rinses: Rinsing the affected area with warm salt water several times a day can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Drainage: If there is an abscess present, the dentist may need to drain it to relieve pressure and promote healing.
Extraction: In some cases, it may be necessary to extract the affected tooth to prevent further infection and alleviate symptoms.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the gum flap and allow the tooth to fully emerge or to remove a portion of the jawbone to create more space for the tooth to emerge.
Overall, the goal of treatment is to manage symptoms, eliminate infection, and prevent future episodes of pericoronitis. Maintaining good oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental check-ups can also help prevent the condition from occurring or recurring. If you are experiencing symptoms of pericoronitis, it is important to seek prompt dental care to prevent complications and manage the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.