How do you treat Pericoronitis?
Pericoronitis treatment varies because the flap of gum tissue that’s creating the problem won’t go away until the tooth emerges naturally, the tissue is surgically removed, or the tooth is extracted.
If your incoming wisdom tooth is not impacted, your dentist may decide to help you manage the symptoms of pericoronitis without removing the tissue flap or the tooth. Your dentist will clean the gum tissue and monitor the area to make sure it stays clean. You may be prescribed antibiotics to treat the swelling or wisdom tooth infection, so it doesn’t reoccur while you wait for the wisdom tooth to fully come in.
If your symptoms are severe enough your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to decide if the tooth or tissue flap should be removed. No need to panic, the flap can be removed with a minor oral surgery. However, the tissue can grow back, and if the molar is impacted and it’s determined that it won’t grow in correctly, the best course of treatment is likely an extraction. Removing the wisdom tooth fully treats the problem.
What is Ludwig’s Angina?
While uncommon, a person experiencing pericoronitis can develop a life-threatening complication called Ludwig's angina. This is a rare but serious and rapidly progressing bacterial infection that affects the floor of the mouth and the neck and should be treated by a medical professional as soon as possible. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's time to call the doctor.
- Swelling of infected tissues
- Enlarged neck swelling
- Sore throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Fever and chills in combination with extensive swelling
Pericoronitis sometimes arises even with excellent dental care. During this busy time in your life it’s important to monitor the growth of wisdom teeth so you can extract a tooth early if necessary, to avoid complications like pericoronitis. Luckily, pericoronitis does not cause any long-term effects. If the affected tooth is removed or erupts fully into the mouth, the condition cannot return.
Remember that pericoronitis does not occur when all wisdom teeth come in and can be treated quickly if you pay close attention and seek advice from your dentist if you have any concerns.