Why Does Pericoronitis Occur

If you’re experiencing pain near your wisdom teeth, then you could be suffering from a condition called pericoronitis. It’s an inflammation of the gum tissue around your wisdom tooth that can be painful and cause foul breath and a bad taste in your mouth.

No one likes to suffer from this kind of pain, so it’s important to understand why pericoronitis occurs so that you can take steps to prevent it.

In this article, I’ll explain some of the main causes of pericoronitis and provide tips for preventing it before it becomes a serious problem.


Pericoronitis is an infection of the gum tissue surrounding a partially erupted tooth. It occurs when the gum tissue becomes inflamed and infected, usually due to trapped food particles and bacteria.

Pericoronitis can occur in any number of teeth, usually those that are partially erupted or emerging from the gums. Wisdom teeth are especially prone to this type of infection because they don’t always emerge fully from the gums. When this happens, it’s very easy for bacteria and debris to get trapped in the flap of tissue left around the partially emerged tooth.

The pain caused by pericoronitis is often made worse by eating or drinking hot or cold beverages. Swelling can occur near the affected area as well as facial pain and tenderness when lightly touched. In severe cases, fever may be present as well as bad breath and a foul taste in your mouth. Treatment often includes antibiotics prescribed by your dentist or physician along with proper oral hygiene like brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day.


Pericoronitis’s common symptoms are pain, swelling, or tenderness in the gum around the affected tooth. There may also be accompanying facial swelling and lymphadenopathies (enlarged lymph nodes). Other symptoms include bad breath, difficulty opening the mouth, as well as a general feeling of sickness or fever-like symptoms.

The signs and symptoms associated with pericoronitis vary depending on the extent of inflammation and infection. They may range from mild discomfort to severe pain involving a radiating jaw ache. In more serious cases, there may also be drainage of pus along with oral oozing and gingival ulceration. In addition to the local manifestations of pericoronitis, some systemic signs such as fever may indicate more serious infections that should be addressed promptly by a dentist or other healthcare professional.

What causes pericoronitis?

One of the primary causes of pericoronitis is an incomplete eruption of the tooth, causing a flap of gum tissue to form around the tooth. This flap can become inflamed and infected, which can lead to pain and swelling in the area. Another potential cause of pericoronitis is food particles that get stuck under the gum tissue flap, leading to infection. Poor oral hygiene can also be a risk factor: not brushing or flossing properly can cause bacteria to build up and cause an infection. Additionally, trauma to the gums or teeth may also contribute to the development of pericoronitis.

Regardless of what causes it, pericoronitis should be taken seriously since it can potentially lead to more serious dental issues if left untreated. It’s important for people who experience sudden pain and swelling in their mouth area to see a dentist as soon as possible for evaluation and treatment.

What factors could increase my risk of developing it?

Your risk of developing pericoronitis could increase if you have poor oral hygiene habits. Neglecting to brush and floss twice a day can leave food particles, plaque, and tartar buildup on your teeth. This buildup can trap bacteria, leading to irritation or infection of the gums and surrounding tissue.

Another factor that could increase your risk is having impacted teeth. Impaction occurs when there isn’t enough room in your mouth for a tooth to develop correctly. This is often seen with wisdom teeth, which may partially erupt but fail to completely break out of the gum line due to lack of space.

Having overcrowded or misaligned teeth also increases your risk for pericoronitis since plaque tends to accumulate around tight spaces between crooked or crowded teeth. In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be recommended in order to reduce your risk of developing this condition.

How does pericoronitis affect my oral health?

Pericoronitis is an infection of the soft tissues in your mouth, often caused by trapped food particles that accumulate and create bacteria levels that can cause inflammation of your gums. It affects your oral health by causing pain, swelling, and bad breath. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe infections that can spread throughout the mouth and neck.

In addition to the immediate pain and discomfort from pericoronitis, it can also cause tooth loss over time. The inflamed tissue around the teeth will start to break down and become more prone to decay and cavities due to a lack of proper cleaning. If the infection spreads far enough, it can end up affecting jaw structures as well as surrounding facial tissues like cheeks or tongue, leading to significant facial deformity and even loss of consciousness if allowed to remain unchecked for too long.

Management and Treatment Options

Pericoronitis is usually managed with oral antibiotics, such as penicillin or clindamycin, and counter pain relievers or medication. Oral surgery may be recommended in certain cases if the pericoronitis does not improve with these treatments. The goal of surgery is to remove the gum flap and clean the area thoroughly.

It’s important to keep the area clean to prevent recurring infections. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water solutions several times a day can help reduce inflammation and avoid the accumulation of food debris around the affected tooth. Good oral hygiene practices are also essential for preventing recurrence; brushing twice daily, flossing once a day, and using interdental brushes on a regular basis can improve results after treatment.

Your dentist may recommend retaining impacted teeth under special conditions, but long-term follow-ups are critical in this case because recurrent infections are common. In severe cases or when recurrences persist despite management measures, extracting the affected tooth is probably the best option considering that there is no cure for pericoronitis and complications can occur if left untreated.


Determining how to prevent pericoronitis can be challenging, as it is often caused by food and bacteria becoming trapped in the partially-erupted wisdom teeth. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing this condition:

1. Practice good oral hygiene – brush and floss at least twice a day to reduce your risk of developing gum disease and cavities.

2. Speak with your dentist about having x-rays done – regular checkups are important for detecting any problems before they become serious.

3. Consider having your wisdom teeth extracted – if your wisdom teeth are causing pain or discomfort, talk with your dentist about having them removed to decrease the chances of an infection occurring in the future.

4. Avoid eating hard-to-chew foods – this will decrease the likelihood of food particles getting 

By Caitlyn

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