Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the most posterior teeth and usually appear between ages 17 and 23. Most adults develop four wisdom teeth, although it is possible to have fewer. As they develop, wisdom teeth often affect the other teeth and may need to be extracted. Sometimes wisdom teeth only grow in partially; in this case it can result in pericoronitis. This causes inflammation of the gums surrounding the wisdom tooth. It may also cause a flap of tissue in which food can become trapped, resulting in the rapid development of bacteria. Pericoronitis can also arise when a wisdom tooth has not emerged at all and is still under the gum.
Symptoms of Pericoronitis
Common symptoms of this gum disorder include:
- Swollen gum tissue
- Pain around the affected tooth
- Difficulty biting down
- Discharge of puss from the gum surrounding the tooth
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bad breath
More serious symptoms of pericoronitis include:
- Muscle spasms in the jaw
- Swollen lymph nodes beneath the chin
- Facial swelling on the side of the affected tooth
Treatment of pericoronitis can be problematic because the irritating flap of tissue will not heal until either the wisdom tooth emerges fully or the skin is removed. To alleviate the problem, your dental surgeon will first clean the area. If the tissue is infected you may need to take oral antibiotics. He will also advise you how to keep the area clean through daily brushing, flossing and rinsing. In some instances you may need to have the tooth extracted once the pericoronitis had been treated affectively to prevent pericoronitis reoccurring.
Here at Riverside Oral & Facial Surgery, we are dedicated to providing the best oral and facial skeletal surgery, facial cosmetic surgery, and facial skin care available in northwest Georgia. We take great pride in serving our patient’s needs using cutting-edge equipment and techniques. If you are considering any type of oral or facial surgical procedure, contact us today to consult with Dr. Hunt. He is only too happy to address your questions and concerns.