Pericoronitis: what it is and how to treat it

Pericoronitis, the inflammation of the gum around the crown, can affect any tooth, but it is more common to arise in the third molars, or wisdom teeth. When these sprout partially because of the lack of space available, they create the perfect environment for bacteria to develop, which can lead to an infection from mild to extremely painful, affecting even the neck, jaw and cheeks .

Antonia did not pay much attention to a strange taste in her mouth that she began to feel and attributed it to a bad digestion. But the gums began to ache to the point that he could not open his mouth well, let alone chew comfortably! That led her to visit her dentist. The diagnosis? Pericoronitis

Antonia had never heard that word, but her dentist kindly explained that it was common in people her age, young people between 17 and 25 years old.  Wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, and when they do, they often do not find enough space. If they manage to partially sprout, the bacteria and even the remains of the food penetrate and accumulate inside the pocket surrounding the tooth (or the crown). This dark, hot and humid environment is ideal for the development of an infection that, in its most severe cases, can accumulate pus, and affect the lymph on the infected side. Inflammation, discomfort, and pain can make it hard to open your mouth, chew, and sometimes it can make your ears hurt.

Symptoms of pericoronitis

Pericoronitis is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Inflammation of the gum tissue around the molar or tooth, caused by the accumulation of fluid
  • This inflammation can cause pain (from intermittent to chronic) and fever
  • Bad taste of mouth and foul breath, caused by a pus-filled abscess
  • Difficulty opening the mouth and pain when chewing and swallowing
  • Inflammation of the neck ganglia on the affected side

The treatment of pericoronitis

It is important to go to the dentist as soon as possible so that the infection is eliminated quickly, and especially when the face has already been inflamed. If the infection is around a third molar, the dentist will safely take x-rays of the molar to check its location and determine if it is impacted.

If it has partially sprouted, carefully clean the bag to remove any residue (dirt) and / or food that has accumulated. This is done by irrigating the area with a jet of water under pressure until it is well cleaned. To reduce infection, antibiotics (usually penicillin), saline rinses and an analgesic to fight pain will be prescribed.

In the most severe cases of pericoronitis, it is necessary to surgically cut the cap or tissue that borders the molar or the tooth and if the molar is impacted (that is, it can not sprout due to lack of space), it will be necessary to remove it by surgery.

If you notice any of the symptoms, do not wait for it to get worse and make an appointment with the dentist. Although pericoronitis is more common in young people whose wisdom teeth are sprouting or impacted , it can occur around any other part of the mouth, especially if the oral cleansing is poor. As a precaution, maintain good oral hygiene , and visit your dentist frequently .

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