Young man talking by smartphone and looking away while suffering from tooth pain at home.- Fairfield, CAWhen we lost our first tooth and started to see the adult tooth growing in, it was exciting! However, as we grew older and our adult teeth started coming in, they may have become a cause for concern. Perhaps you currently find yourself in this situation. Maybe you have started to feel a little discomfort and recently noticed some swelling.

You may wonder, “Is this normal?” and “What can I do to relieve the symptoms?”

You may be suffering from pericoronitis, but do not worry. This is common for a partially erupted wisdom tooth. With proper care and treatment, our specialized team at Fairfield Oral Surgery, located in Fairfield, California, can manage or treat your pericoronitis successfully! What is pericoronitis? You will find the answer to that question and more below.

What Is Pericoronitis?  

Pericoronitis, also known as operculitis, is when the soft tissues surrounding partially erupted wisdom teeth (third and final set of teeth) become inflamed. This inflammation usually affects the lower wisdom teeth more so than the upper wisdom teeth.

What Causes Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis is caused by an accumulation of bacteria. A partially erupted tooth creates a gum flap or an opening where food particles and debris can get wedged around the tooth, leading to a buildup of bacteria. Infection can then develop by forming an abscess under the excess gum tissue. 

Common Symptoms:

Pericoronitis symptoms can be broken up into two categories, acute and chronic.  

The symptoms of acute pericoronitis include:

  • Severe pain near your third molars, possibly causing difficulty chewing as well as sleep disruption
  • Swelling of gum tissue
  • Difficulty and pain when swallowing
  • The discharge of pus
  • Difficulty in opening your mouth and jaw
  • Fever

The symptoms of chronic pericoronitis include:

  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Leaking pus from the gums, which can create a bad taste in your mouth
  • A dull ache that can last one or two days

The intensity of the symptoms you may experience depends on how severe the infection is.

How Is Pericoronitis Treated Professionally?

After taking note of your symptoms, a clinical examination, and an x-ray if needed, our oral surgeons will determine if your wisdom teeth have partially erupted. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, the treatment options are as follows:

  • The use of oral irrigators and an oral rinse to flush out food debris and bacteria.
  • The use of pain medication to manage or alleviate the pain near the molar. You may also be prescribed oral antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, to reduce the amount of swollen gum tissue.
  • Removal of the gum flap covering the tooth by means of minor oral surgery. This will allow for proper cleaning of the area.
  • Extraction of the wisdom tooth

Our Oral Surgeons at Fairfield Oral Surgery are ready and willing to evaluate your needs and alleviate your discomfort. We also can explain to you the options you have to pay for the cost to remove a wisdom tooth if that is what you need to have done. 

Addressing these symptoms as early as possible can help to avoid complications from occurring like Ludwig’s angina.

How Can I Treat Pericoronitis At Home?

There are effective ways to treat mild pericoronitis at home. The most helpful steps are listed below.

  • Maintain a good oral hygiene routine.
  • Use a warm salt water rinse to soothe the inflammation.
  • Use diluted hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacteria in your mouth.
  • Use an oral irrigator to keep the area clean.

Although these steps can help reduce the severity of your symptoms for a while, it is vital that you seek medical advice if your symptoms intensify.  Our oral surgeons can give you the treatment you need to reduce your pain and lower the risk of wisdom tooth infection.


For more information about pericoronitis, we encourage you to schedule an appointment. If you are feeling any of the aforementioned symptoms, please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment at Fairfield Oral Surgery today! We look forward to helping you receive the best treatment, relieving your symptoms, and putting your mind at ease!


Who Is Affected By Pericoronitis?

Most commonly, people who are in their 20s. However, it can also affect those of different age groups.

What Factors Can Increase My Chances Of Developing Pericoronitis?

  • Stress
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Pregnancy
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Not seeing your general dentist for routine checkups and cleanings

How Long Does Pericoronitis Last?

If not treated, symptoms of pericoronitis can last for a few days to weeks, depending on how severe your symptoms are. However, within one to two weeks of treatment, the condition should resolve.

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