What is pericoronitis?

An impacted tooth can trap food particles and debris. Bacteria feed on these food particles, which may cause infection of the surrounding tissue. This is called pericoronitis.

How would I know if I have pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis may include any of the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Swollen gum tissue in the area of the affected tooth
  • Difficulty in biting or opening of the mouth
  • Swelling of the cervical (neck) lymph nodes
  • Foul smell or taste in the mouth
  • Pus from the gum near the tooth
  • Swelling on the affected side of the face

How do I get treated?

Patients with pericoronitis are given antibiotics to combat the infection. Additionally, warm saltwater rinses will help with the healing. If treated, the infection should resolve within 1 week. Your dentist may advise you to have the impacted teeth removed.

How can I prevent this disease?

Brush and floss carefully any erupting tooth. This helps eliminate the food particles that may be trapped. It may be necessary to have the impacted tooth removed to prevent this disease. However, the offending tooth can only be removed once the infection is under control.