Advantages of a Dental Implant
September 20, 2016
Dental Implant Surgery
September 22, 2016

Pericoronitis: Understanding the Condition

Wisdom teeth typically start erupting during late youth. At times, the mouth doesn’t have adequate space for these teeth to erupt, which is why; these molars may have partial eruption or no eruption at all. As a result, the affected individual may experience pericoronitis, a condition that involves swelling of the tissue that surrounds the tooth. When the tooth’s part has erupted, a flap of gum tissue is created that may hold debris as well as food particles, thereby promoting bacterial growth.

The most common sign of this condition is painful, inflamed gum tissue in the region of the suffering tooth. This can make it even more challenging to bite down without being disturbed by the swollen tissue between the teeth. Another common sign is bad taste or odor in the mouth and in some cases, the gum near the affected tooth discharges pus. In more severe cases of pericoronitis, the patient has inflamed lymph nodes under the chin, muscle spasms as well as inflammation in the affected facial parts.

Typically, this condition is diagnosed by a clinical evaluation. The dentist observes swollen gum tissue in the region of the unerupted or partially erupted molars. The affected gums typically appear swollen. The condition is manageable with the use of antibiotics along with salt-water rinses. It may take up to a week for pericoronitis to improve. But, if complete eruption of tooth fails and the accumulation of debris and bacteria continues, the condition may return.

How To Prevent the Condition

Ensuring that proper oral hygiene practices are followed so that the accumulation of debris and food particles is avoided can help prevent the condition. But, if these strategies don’t work and the condition returns, the dentist may suggest the patient to get the flap of tissue removed. At times, extraction of the wisdom tooth is needed.

What About Treatment?

It can be really challenging to treat pericoronitis, as the gum tissue’s flap doesn’t disappear until the natural eruption of the wisdom tooth. The affected region is thoroughly cleaned by the dentist for removing pus or damaged tissue. In case, the region is infected, the patient is prescribed oral antibiotics.

The dentist suggests ways to keep the region clean, which is the most ideal strategy for preventing the condition from returning. This typically involves brushing as well as flossing regularly while rinsing the mouth with water a number of times every day. This will keep food particles and debris from gathering in that region.

If needed, the dentist may suggest tooth extraction. If the dentist predicts that the tooth may have complete and problem-free eruption, the tooth will be left alone. But, if the condition returns, extraction may become the only option. Pericoronitis with severe signs needs immediate treatment. If not treated, the infectious condition can spread to other oral regions.


Dr. Bruno Silva
Founder and Principal Dentist, Brighton Implant Clinic.