Pericoronitis is the inflammation of the tissue surrounding a third molar teeth, also known as wisdom tooth. This condition most often occurs in molars that are partially impacted, or not fully erupted into the oral cavity. It is more common in lower molars than in the upper ones. Most people with pericoronitis have a flap of gum tissue partially or completely covering the crown of the erupting tooth.


Pericoronitis symptoms vary based on whether the condition is acute or chronic.

The symptoms of acute pericoronitis includes the following

  • Excruciating pain near molar teeth
  • Swelling and redness of gum tissues
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Pus discharge
  • Trismus (lockjaw/restricted mouth opening)

Chronic pericoronitis can includes the following symptoms

  • Bad breath or halitosis
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Mild or dull ache lasting for one or two days

Causes and risk factors

Pericoronitis usually occurs in partially impacted molar teeth. Bacteria feed on the food accumulated around the soft tissue, causing inflammation and redness.

The following factors can increase risk of pericoronitis

  • The age groups between 20 to 29 years are at high risk
  • Wisdom teeth that is partially erupted
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Excess growth of gum tissue
  • Fatigue and emotional stress
  • Pregnancy women are also at high risk


The dentist may examine your tooth to see if it’s partially erupted and to check for any gum flap. They’ll note your symptoms and may take an X-ray for confirmation.


The dentist will take a number of factors into consideration before deciding how to treat pericoronitis. The three treatment options are as follows

  • Managing the pain near the molar teeth
  • Removing the flap covering the tooth
  • Extracting the tooth

Managing pain

If the tooth is expected to fully erupt on its own, dentist may decide to help in managing the symptoms without removing the flap or the tooth. In this case, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be helpful in relieving the pain. Your dentist will also do the scaling near gum tissue, around your tooth to prevent buildup of plaque, calculus and food particles. They may use local anesthesia to help with the pain during this process to avoid discomfort.


Your dentist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon if they decide the tooth or flap should be removed depending on the case. In some cases, the flap grows back, and a second surgery is needed, but it is rare. Removal of the tooth usually solves the problem, but there are sometimes instances when it’s beneficial to retain the tooth if possible.

Home treatments

Few home remedies include the following

  • Warm salt water rinses can help in relieving pain
  • Oral water irrigators can help in cleaning
  • Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing surely add to goog oral health
  • Avoid using hot compresses, and seek medical attention if you have a fever or any other symptom.

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