Pericoronitis: Prevention, Pain relief, Pre-emptive care and more
What exactly is Pericoronitis?
The inflammation or swelling of your gum tissue can be due to an infection called as Pericoronitis. It’s most commonly seen around the lower teeth. In most of the cases it is seen to happen around the wisdom teeth.
What Causes Pericoronitis?
When wisdom teeth only partially erupt, pericoronitis can develop (break through the gum). An operculum is a soft tissue development over a partially erupted wisdom tooth. Bacteria may get stuck between the operculum and the skin. This allows bacteria to invade the area around the tooth, causing inflammation and swelling.
Food debris, bacteria, or plaque (a bacterial film that forms on teeth after eating) can become trapped under the gingiva, the gum flap that surrounds a tooth. It can irritate the gums and cause pericoronitis if it remains there. Swelling and infection can spread beyond the jaw to the cheeks and neck in severe cases.
Risk Factors for Pericoronitis:
- Pericoronitis can be caused by several factors, including:
- Still being in your twenties
- An inflammation of the upper respiratory tract
- Emotional tension
- Oral hygiene issues
Symptoms of pericoronitis can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (be ongoing).
Acute symptoms include:
- Swelling in the gum tissue (caused by an accumulation of fluid)
- Pus discharge
- Trismus, or difficulty opening your mouth and jaw, also called lockjaw
- Pain with swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen submandibular lymph nodes in the neck
The following are examples of chronic symptoms:
- Occasionally, you can experience dull pain or moderate discomfort.
- A sour taste in your mouth
- Diagnosis of Pericoronitis
- Your dentist will test your wisdom teeth to assess if they are erupting and whether they partially erupt. They can take an X-ray to check the alignment of the wisdom teeth regularly. Any signs, such as swelling or infection, will be noted by your dentist, who will also search for the appearance of a gum flap around a wisdom tooth.
- Treatment for Pericoronitis
- Your general dentist or one of these specialists will treat pericoronitis:
- Pedodontist or pediatric dentist
- Oral surgeon
Pericoronitis can be treated with the following methods:
- Oral hygiene/oral irrigators and rinses: If the pericoronitis is localized and hasn’t spread, rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can be an effective remedy. Your dentist should use an oral rinse to flush out food waste or bacteria. Make sure there’s no food stuck between the gums and the gum flap.
- Pressure relievers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen are accessible. Your dentist can prescribe a pain reliever.
- Antibiotics: See your dentist right away if your tooth, jaw, or cheek is swollen and painful. Antibiotics can be used to treat the infection (usually penicillin, unless you are allergic).
- Minor oral surgery to remove the operculum: If the pain and inflammation are severe, or if the pericoronitis recurs, oral surgery to remove the gum flap or wisdom tooth may be required. Your dentist will refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if necessary. Pericoronitis may be treated with a low-level laser to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Extraction: If a wisdom tooth still doesn’t come in usually, surgery to remove it might be needed. To prevent your upper wisdom tooth from chewing your gum and causing another infection, your dentist may recommend that you can both your upper and lower wisdom teeth.
Some home remedies for Pericoronitis:
While seeing your dentist or oral surgeon for a personalized treatment plan is vital, they may also suggest home remedies. These should be used in combination with clinical care rather than in place of it. The following are some examples of home remedies
- pressure relievers sold over-the-counter
- Oral water irrigators use warm salt-water rinses to maintain good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing.
- If you have a fever, avoid using hot compresses and seek medical help.