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Pericoronitis & wisdom teeth - causes, symptoms, treatments

What is pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis describes inflammation of gum tissue in the mouth caused by problems with wisdom teeth.

What causes pericoronitis?

When wisdom teeth partially break through the gum (erupting), plaque can get under the gum leading to irritation and infection. This can lead to pericoronitis around that tooth.

Untreated, this infection can spread to the cheeks, jaw and neck.

What are the symptoms of pericoronitis?

Symptoms of pericoronitis include:


How is pericoronitis diagnosed?

A dentist will diagnose pericoronitis based on the symptoms and an examination of the teeth and gums for swelling and signs of infection.

X-rays may be taken to check wisdom teeth.

How is pericoronitis treated?

See your dentist or seek medical advice for pericoronitis symptoms.

Dental surgery

A dentist may recommend removing a wisdom tooth if it is causing problems or a procedure to remove the gum flap. This may require a referral to a specialist oral surgeon or maxillofacial surgeon.

Additional oral hygiene measures may be advised after treatment for pericoronitis as well as follow-up appointments.

Do I need antibiotics for pericoronitis?

A course of antibiotics may be recommended by the dentist to treat infection.

Home remedies

Until you see a dentist, early pericoronitis symptoms may be relieved by rinsing the mouth with warm salt water.

When brushing teeth, check for any food trapped under the affected gum.

Painkillers can help with any dental pain from pericoronitis.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on August 19, 2016

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