Pericoronitis is a common dental condition that occurs when the gum tissue around the wisdom teeth becomes infected, causing pain and discomfort. This condition is most common in teenagers and young adults and is a common reason for visits to emergency dentists. This is not only because the condition itself is unpleasant, but because if pericoronitis is left unchecked, it can spread to the cheeks, jaw or neck. This can make it hard to eat, breathe and swallow, meaning that getting treatment as quickly as possible is vital. This guide aims to explain how to find out if you have pericoronitis, what can be done about it and how to prevent it.
Symptoms of Pericoronitis
If you develop pericoronitis, it will make itself known through a variety of unpleasant symptoms, most commonly tooth pain and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This is generally accompanied by bad breath, as well as a sore throat and noticeable swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the gums. WebMD also lays out some other symptoms of pericoronitis, such as problems eating and opening the mouth, potentially combined with a fever and loss of appetite. If you have these symptoms, you should see your dentist as soon as possible, before the infection spreads to your cheeks, jaw or neck.
Treatment For Pericoronitis
The treatment you will be prescribed depends entirely on how severe the infection is, and whether it has spread. WebMD points out that milder cases can be treated with salt water rinses and antibiotics, while some people also require surgery to remove the gum flap. However, in the case of a severe infection, it is likely that the affected wisdom tooth will have to be removed. The NHS explains the wisdom tooth procedure in detail, asserting that it is usually short and simple, despite some discomfort afterwards. Some dentists may advocate removing all the remaining wisdom teeth as a preventative measure.
There are things you can do to prevent pericoronitis, or at least to reduce the likelihood of it. As MedicineNet points out, you can do this through a healthy and effective oral hygiene routine. When you brush, floss and use mouthwash, make sure that you are not neglecting the back of your mouth, even though it can be harder to reach. You should also see your dentist regularly, as they can examine your wisdom teeth and have them removed as a preemptive measure if necessary, saving you the pain of pericoronitis.
Although pericoronitis is an inconvenient and painful condition, it is one with a simple cure. If you are worried about developing this condition, speak to your dentist and ask about the possibility of wisdom tooth removal as a preventative measure. If you show symptoms of pericoronitis, you should also speak to a dentist and make an emergency appointment for treatment.