For many people, getting their wisdom teeth removed is a pretty painless, simple process. But, there are a few cases when wisdom teeth removal is performed not as a preventative measure, but because of a severe, unpleasant infection. A condition called pericoronitis can develop when the gum tissue around the wisdom teeth become infected and inflamed. Although treatable, the condition can continue to recur if the teeth are not removed.
What Causes Pericoronitis?
Pericoronitis occurs when a tooth only comes in part way and when a portion of gum tissue is left over the tooth. The gum tissue often has an opening that is the perfect place for food to become lodged and for bacteria to accumulate. The bacteria are what are responsible for the infection. As they multiply, the gum becomes more and more inflamed. An abscess can form, which is usually filled with pus. If not treated in a timely way, the pus can spread to other areas of the mouth, spreading the infection.
The most conservative treatment option is to use a salt water rinse to clean the infected area, flushing out any bacteria and any food pieces that might be trapped in the gum.
To reduce the chance of the infection recurring, a dentist might decide to remove the piece of gum that is causing part of the trouble. Cutting away the flap of gum will make it easier for you to reach the area when brushing and will reduce the chance of the infection coming back.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Removal of your wisdom teeth is often the best way to go when treating pericoronitis. Eliminating the bacteria and removing the gum flap only offer temporary solutions in many cases, as there is always the risk that the infection will return. Usually, the teeth are removed after the infection is controlled, to prevent it from spreading during the extraction of the teeth.