Donna S. Bautista, DDS
Dr. Donna S. Bautista, DDS, completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor of arts in biochemistry and cell biology. During her time at UC San Diego, she was involved in basic research including studying processes related to DNA transcription in the field of molecular biology. Upon graduation, she went on to attend dental school at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to her formal dental training, she provided dental care for underserved communities in the Bay Area through clinics and health fairs. She also worked toward mentoring high school students interested in the field of dentistry.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is pericoronitis?
- What causes pericoronitis?
- Who is at risk for pericoronitis?
- What are the signs and symptoms of pericoronitis?
- How is pericoronitis diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for pericoronitis?
- Are home treatments effective for pericoronitis?
- What is the prognosis for pericoronitis?
- Can pericoronitis be prevented?
- Find a local Doctor in your town
How is pericoronitis diagnosed?
Pericoronitis is diagnosed based on symptoms and appearance during a clinical evaluation with a health care professional such as a dentist or oral surgeon. A dental X-ray is used to assess the area and rule out other possible causes for pain such as dental decay.
What is the treatment for pericoronitis?
There are three methods for treatment of pericoronitis depending on the severity of the condition:
- Management of pain and resolving the infection
- Minor surgery to remove the overlapping gum tissue (operculectomy)
- Removal of the tooth
To manage the pain, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are used. If it is localized to the tooth and there has been no spread of the infection, the area is thoroughly cleaned out under local anesthesia by a dentist. If there is swelling or fever, oral antibiotics such as penicillin or erythromycin will be prescribed.
When the tooth can be useful and there is a desire to keep the tooth, minor surgery can be performed to remove the operculum. This will allow better access to properly clean the area and prevent the accumulation of bacteria and food debris. In some unfortunate instances, the gum tissue may grow back and create the same problem.
Removal (extraction) of the tooth is the most common treatment method since wisdom teeth oftentimes are poorly positioned and do not erupt completely. This method eliminates any future occurrences of pericoronitis.
In rare instances, the symptoms become so severe that an individual needs to go the hospital emergency room to seek care due to the rapid spread of infection.
Viewers share their comments
WebMD Oral Health
Get tips for a healthy mouth.