Pericoronitis is a common dental problem in which the gum tissues around the molars become infected and swollen. This problem is common among young adults with partial tooth impactions. It occurs when the third molars, the wisdom teeth, start erupting.
Causes of Pericoronitis
Pericoronitis develops when the wisdom teeth partially erupt through the gums. When the teeth are partially erupted, it gives an easy opening for bacteria to enter the tooth gum tissue and cause an infection. The food or plaque (formed by bacterial action on food) will get entrapped underneath the gum around the tooth. This can cause irritation in the gum. In case of severe pericoronitis, the infection and swelling extends beyond the cheeks and neck.
Symptoms of Pericoronitis
Pericoronitis symptoms include:
- Swelling in the gum tissue
- Discharge of pus from the gum
- Bad odor in the mouth
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- Swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck
- Muscle spasms in the jaw
- Swelling on the affected side of the face
Treatment for Pericoronitis
Treatment is based on the stage of infection and the pain you undergo.
- If the pain and infection is limited to tooth and is not spread, you can treat it by cleaning your mouth with warm salt solution. Make sure no food particles remain under the gum flap.
- In case the jaw and cheek are swollen and painful, seek your dentist’s help immediately. You will be administered antibiotic injections or oral pain medications that include ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen.
- If the swelling and pain turns severe, oral surgery to remove the gum flap or partially erupted wisdom tooth becomes necessary. A low level laser therapy is helpful to reduce the swelling and pain.