Pericoronitis - Pain from wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the most unpredictable teeth in the mouth. It is unpredictable in terms of it’s presence, eruption time, and angle of growth. Because of this, a lot of people have in their minds that we always need to take wisdom teeth out, whether it causes any problems or not.

My advice is generally to only remove them if they cause trouble. This is because there are other risks involved when removing these teeth, for instance damage to the nearby nerves next to the wisdom teeth.

However, if you do get pain or discomfort from them, you might want to think about removing them.

One of the indications of removing wisdom teeth is a condition called PERICORONITIS.

What is it?

Pericoronitis is the infection of the gums associated with half-erupted wisdom teeth – especially the lower ones. When a tooth is half way through, a nice little pocket or flap is created under the gums for food stuff and plaque to accumulate. This area is most prone to infections and decay because it is the last tooth in the mouth, which makes it very difficult to reach when cleaning.

If the area is not cleaned thoroughly, an infection can start. And this is the beginning of infection, swelling and pain from the wisdom tooth area.

What are the symptoms?

Mild symptoms:

  1. Pain
  2. Swelling on the gums associated with the wisdom tooth
  3. Difficulty in opening the mouth, stiffness
  4. Bad breath
  5. Extruding pus

More serious symptoms:

  1. Difficulty in swallowing
  2. Limited jaw opening
  3. Difficulty in breathing
  4. Facial swelling
  5. Fever

What to do?

  1. Rinse with a chlorhexidine mouthwash (eg: savacol, corsodyl), or salt water
  2. Get som pain killers
  3. Visit the dentist. The dentist will need to:
    1. Flush out the infected pocket with more chlorhexidine solution
    2. Prescribe antibiotics
    3. Get an x-ray/radiograph to assess the wisdom tooth
  4. If it is a serious symptom, go to your nearest Emergency Department!

 Treatment options

  1. Wait and see if the tooth fully erupts
  2. Remove the flap of gum causing the infection
  3. Consider taking that wisdom tooth out!

The options should be discussed with your dentist, as each case is different. It is always important to get this checked out sooner than later because if the infection progresses, it can be life threatening.

If you have any questions about your condition, don’t hesitate to Contact Us. We will be happy to discuss your treatment options.