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How to Treat Pericoronitis

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: November 12, 2020
How to Treat Pericoronitis

Pericoronitis relates to a dental disorder where the gum tissue surrounding a partially emerged tooth becomes inflamed and infected. This causes pain and discomfort which can cause aggravation during even the simplest of actions such as eating, swallowing or opening and closing the mouth. This usually occurs in third molar teeth, more popularly known as wisdom teeth, when they do not have enough space to grow or are poorly positioned. In all cases, it is advisable to go to the dentist to fix the problem and prevent further complications which can seriously endanger your oral health. In this OneHowTo article we explain in detail how to treat pericoronitis, as well as its causes and most common symptoms.

You may also be interested in: How to Cure a Tooth Infection

Steps to follow:


Pericoronitis occurs when the gum surrounding a partially emerged tooth becomes inflamed and infected due to a bacterial proliferation. This can occur in any tooth but frequently occurs in wisdom teeth. This is because wisdom teeth usually have little space to grow andare partially covered by the gum.

This condition is usually caused by bacteria found in the oral cavity, which penetrates between the gum and the tooth in question. This creates an environment of heat and moisture and allows food debris to enter. This moist environment is ideal for bacteria to proliferate and results in an infection.

Pericoronitis may also occur due to trauma caused in the operculum, the part of the gum which partially covers the affected tooth. If an opposite tooth continually collides against the gum that covers the emerging tooth, this can end up causing irritation and inflammation.

How to Treat Pericoronitis - Step 1

The symptoms of pericoronitis may vary considerably from one person to another depending on the site where the inflammation is located. Usually these are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Red, swollen and painful gums.
  • Pain in the temporomandibular joint, which can radiate to the ear and become more acute and intense when chewing food.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or speaking normally.
  • Difficulty swallowing normally.
  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, which may be caused by the secretion of pus from affected gums.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
  • General feeling of malaise, fever and chills.

In the most severe and advanced cases, it is possible for pericoronitis to result in the formation of an abscess that can spread to other parts of the oral cavity or even the pharynx.

How to Treat Pericoronitis - Step 2

Prior to these symptoms developing or if you suspect you have pericoronitis, it is essential that you call your dentist as soon as possible. Professional diagnosis will help to establish appropriate and necessary treatment. This treatment will vary according to the severity of inflammation and infection, as well as the symptom picture that is presented.

Generally, a specialist will clean and drain the affected part first by using an irrigation serum to remove all debris and food remains which have accumulated there. In addition, increased measures of oral hygiene will be recommended. Use a soft bristled brush to carefully brush the teeth and rinse with a chlorhexidine mouthwash or saline solution to prevent bacterial growth.

In addition, drugs such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and painkillers may be prescribed. Tihis will cure the infection and relieve any discomfort caused by pericoronitis in the patient.

How to Treat Pericoronitis - Step 3

Once the patient has undergone this first phase of treatment, they should return to their dentist to determine if minor surgery is necessary. The gum tissue which covers the affected tooth, called the operculum, may be removed. In this way, this area can be cleaned much more easily. This minor surgery will reduce the pain and prevent any new infections.

How to Treat Pericoronitis - Step 4

In cases where wisdom teeth do not have enough room to emerge properly or are improperly positioned, they must be removed. Removing wisdom teeth will prevent more serious dental problems or pericoronitis in the future.

It is essential that any directions given by your dentist are closely followed for treatment to be successful and for the patient to have a speedy recovery. All recommended medications should be taken, accompanied by rest. You might need to make certain changes in your diet, like eating soft foods.

How to Treat Pericoronitis - Step 5

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Pericoronitis, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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1 comment
Brody Cooke
I don't know if it's pericoronitis, but my gum is on top of my wisdom tooth like pericoronitis and it doesn't hurt or anything, it's just there. Is it still pericoronitis?
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How to Treat Pericoronitis