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What is Pericoronitis?


Pericoronitis is an acute infection which causes swelling or inflammation of gums and surrounding soft tissues of a partially erupted tooth. Pericoronitis usually occurs in the lower wisdom tooth area. Wisdom teeth usually erupt in the late teens. When there is not enough space for a wisdom tooth to erupt, then the tooth becomes impacted.{{more}} A wisdom tooth may be partially or completely impacted. A flap of gum tissue is created in the partially erupted wisdom tooth where food impaction can occur. The soft tissue flap covering the partially impacted tooth is known as an operculum. Entrapment of food below the operculum or injury by the opposing tooth on the operculum can lead to Pericoronitis. When the flap becomes inflamed and swollen, then it is known as Pericoronitis. Pericoronitis can also occur in relation to a completely impacted wisdom tooth or a partially impacted wisdom tooth.

Signs and Symptoms of Pericoronitis

1. Gum tissues in relation to partially impacted tooth become swollen and inflamed.

2. Gum tissue will appear red and pus will discharge from gums in relation to tooth. Pus can result in an increase in bulk of flap and can interfere with jaw closure.

3. The lesion will be extremely tender and painful and pain may also radiate to ear, throat and floor of mouth.

4. A bad taste and bad odour is present from oral cavity.

5. The patient will have difficulty in swallowing and will have difficulty in closing the jaws. Pain will aggravate on biting from opposite tooth, as it will cause trauma to the flap present around the affected tooth.

6. Swelling of cheeks may also occur in Pericoronitis.

7. Swelling of lymph nodes (Submandibular lymph nodes) and jaw muscle spasms may also occur in Pericoronitis.

8. Fever, increase in number of white blood cells (Leucocytes) and malaise indicate severe infection.

Diagnosis of Pericoronitis:

Pain, swelling and redness in relation to partially erupted tooth will diagnose Pericoronitis.

Treatment of Pericoronitis:

Treatment of Pericoronitis depends on many factors.

Treatment depends on:

1. Severity of swelling which is present

2. Whether the involved tooth is to be extracted or not and

3. Whether systemic complications are present or not.

(To be continued next week)

Dr Keith John

Email:[email protected]

Clinic: SVG DentalCorporation

Telephone: 784-456-2220

Cell: 784-526-0752