Wisdom teeth, also called the third molars make an appearance anywhere between 17-25 years of age in an individuals life. There are a total of 4 wisdom teeth; two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. Having ones wisdom teeth grow is a sign of adulthood. However, in some cases, there can be problems and pain associated with this rite of passage. Pericoronitis is a dental infection that occurs when the gums around the wisdom tooth gets swollen and inflamed. What takes place is that the tooth comes out only partially from the gum and thereby creates pockets where bacterial infection develops.
Some common symptoms of an infected wisdom tooth are:
- Swelling of the gums and cheek around the infected area
- Bad taste and odour in the mouth due to leaking pus
- Difficulty in opening the mouth
- Fever due to infection
Some home remedies to try before seeing the dentist would include checking (with the tongue) to dislodge any food particle debris stuck around the area especially underneath a gum flap. Over the counter painkillers are useful to counter the pain of an infected wisdom tooth. Salt water gargles multiple times a day makes sure that the infection is contained.
Here at The Dental Hub, our dentists are experts at dealing with problems regarding the wisdom tooth. The first thing that a dentist will do is examine the wisdom tooth area carefully and if need be, take x-rays of the same. Checking for swollen or painful gums or gum flap is done during this time. In severe cases, a dental surgery is required whereby either the gum around the area is cut away and treated or the gum flap is removed. Once pericoronitis has been diagnosed, there are three ways forward:
- The entire wisdom tooth emerges naturally as it is supposed to
- The gum flap is removed to make space for the tooth
-The newborn wisdom tooth is extracted.
Sometimes low level lasers are used to deal with the pain of wisdom tooth infections.