Wisdom teeth are on their way to extinction, but nowadays they still often induce painful problems, gingivitis being the most common. How can wisdom teeth cause inflammation, and what can we do to prevent it? We have all the answers in our article.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the mouth. They usually erupt quite late, when there is only little room left in the dental arch. This often leads to partial eruption, which might result in gingivitis, swelling and excruciating pain. But with care and attention this can be prevented and also treated quite efficiently.
Partial Eruption – Root of Many Symptoms
We talk about partial eruption if a chunk of the tooth remains under the gum tissue, while another part erupts to the surface. It is mainly due to the fact that our jawbones are getting smaller with evolution. It mainly impacts wisdom teeth because these erupt the latest. When trying to find their way to the surface, they get stuck in between, due to the lack of space left for them. The result is often pericoronitis, that is, the inflammation of the gum tissue covering the wisdom tooth.
Pericoronitis occurs mainly because partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean. The food particles that remain under the gum tissue become a hotbed for bacteria, inducing inflammation and caries even in the surrounding tissue and teeth. The inflammation, besides being very painful, also causes bad breath, and might be a nodule for other, more serious illnesses affecting the whole body.
Pericoronitis – Measures to Treat It
When experiencing pain and swelling around the partially erupted wisdom tooth, the first and most vital step is thorough cleaning. It might be uncomfortable, but we have to get rid of the food particles under the gum, because they contain bacteria, which fuel the inflammation. It is recommended to use a toothbrush with a small head and short bristles in order to reach even the smallest gaps.
Cleansing should be done with toothpaste developed especially against gingivitis, and the use of antibacterial mouthwash is also recommended. The latter can also be applied undiluted to the most inflamed areas with the help of a cotton swab. Putting hot packs on our face stimulates blood circulation, which aids our immune system to fight the bacteria that cause the inflammation. If the swelling wouldn’t go down, taking calcium can offer a quick remedy. When the inflammation is stubborn and difficult to get rid of, antibiotics might be prescribed.
Prevention is Key
As in most cases, preventing pericoronitis from happening is the wisest. Taking care of our teeth, and washing them regularly and thoroughly, especially before going to bed is of great importance. If gingivitis happens frequently, or the symptoms are getting worse, we should visit a dentist who detects the reasons and provides treatment. The partially erupted wisdom tooth does not necessarily need to be removed. Often a small incision in the gum, done in local anaesthesia solves the problem by making the surface of the tooth more accessible. However, if panoramic X-ray suggests that there is no room left for the wisdom tooth in the dental arch, its removal might be considered.