What is Pericoronitis?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 14, 2011

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Quick Bites

  • Pericoronitis is a bacterial infection of the tissue or gum near the wisdom tooth.
  • It can be caused by stress or other oral infections.
  • Pericoronitis may need the tooth to be extracted.
  • If the infection is not causing any trouble, tooth may not be extracted.

Pericoronitis refers to an infection of the tissue or gum that is located around the top of a wisdom tooth. ‘Peri’ means the top or crown of the tooth and ‘tis’ means swelling of. The most common symptom of the infection is a worsening pain that lasts a few days. The pain usually occurs on one side of the mouth and most commonly, at the back. It causes difficulty in chewing food and most times, even opening the mouth can be unbecoming.


The Causes

Pericoronitis is a bacterial infection that can be either brought on or made worse by:

  • Trauma that develops at the opposing wisdom tooth biting down the top of it
  • Stress
  • Bits of food getting trapped and accumulated in the gum over the wisdom tooth
  • Other throat and mouth infections.

Will you Need Tooth Extraction?

The general rule followed is that after two bouts of pericoronitis, one will need to have the tooth extracted. But, the extraction depends on more than one factor. If the tooth is not going to be of any use, for instance, because the top wisdom tooth has been taken off, it is trapping food or is impacted, it is better off to have the tooth extracted because there could be a high risk of complication if the tooth is allowed to remain.

On the other hand, if the infection happened just once and the tooth has now come all the way through the gum, is nicely in line and does not cause any problem, there really is no reason for it to be extracted.


Read more articles on Understand Pericoronitis.

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