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.
- What is pericoronitis?
- What causes pericoronitis?
- What are risk factors for pericoronitis?
- What are pericoronitis symptoms and signs?
- What specialists treat pericoronitis?
- How do health care professionals diagnose pericoronitis?
- What is the treatment for pericoronitis?
- Are home remedies effective for pericoronitis?
- What is the prognosis for pericoronitis?
- Is it possible to prevent pericoronitis?
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What is pericoronitis?
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the crown portion of a tooth. Pericoronitis usually affects the lower third molar (wisdom tooth) where gum tissue overlaps the chewing surface of the tooth. Pericoronitis can be either chronic or acute. Chronic pericoronitis is a mild persistent inflammation of the area. Acute pericoronitis is when the symptoms intensify to fever, swelling, and pain, which indicate a spreading infection.
Pericoronitis is differentiated from periodontal disease (or periodontitis) in that it occurs specifically around a partially erupted tooth where the tooth has not completely emerged from the gum overlying it. The cause of this condition is similar to the formation of a gum abscess in periodontitis by the entrapment of debris under the gingival tissue.
What causes pericoronitis?
The primary cause for pericoronitis is accumulation of bacteria. Usually, the tooth is only partially exposed (soft tissue impaction) and has excess gum tissue that overlaps the tooth. Bacteria and food debris gets trapped in the space between the tooth and the overlapping gingiva. This overlapping gum flap is called an "operculum." Initially, inflammation of the operculum (operculitis) takes place. A pericoronal infection can develop by the formation of an abscess under the operculum. If left unattended, the infection can spread to other soft tissue spaces.
What are risk factors for pericoronitis?
Most commonly, pericoronitis affects young adults in their mid-20s who are experiencing poorly erupting wisdom teeth (third molars). Pericoronitis is essentially a "wisdom tooth infection." Risk factors for pericoronitis include the presence of excess gum tissue (operculum) overlying the wisdom tooth and difficult access to the wisdom teeth for proper cleaning.
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