Pericoronitis – Part Four

signs and symptoms (2)

This is the last in our series of blogs on Pericoronitis.
We will look at the signs and symptoms of Pericoronitis in this entry.

The signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe. These include:

1) Pain: The pain tends to worsen as the severity of the condition does. It is often a throbbing pain which radiates up to the ear and temporomandibular joint area. It may also radiate to the throat, posterior submandibular joint region and down to the floor of the mouth. In addition, there may be pain if biting into the operculum (see blog Pericoronitis – Part One posted on July 21st, 2015).
The pain can often disturb your sleep.

2) Swelling: (edema), redness (erythema) of the gum tissue (operculum) around the partially impacted tooth. The operculum is also very tender to touch.

3) Bad breath (halitosis). Bacteria and fungi that are present in the infection break down proteins present in the mouth. This process occurs in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic environment) and foul-smelling incompletely oxidized substances are produced. These volatile sulfur compounds are the cause of the bad breath.

4) Formation/exuding of pus from underneath the operculum…most evident when the operculum is touched.

5) Bad taste from pus in the mouth.

6) Ulceration/tearing/indentation of the operculum by a pointy opposing cusp of a tooth. Please see blog Pericoronitis, Part One.

7) Trismus. This is a difficulty opening the mouth or a general tenderness in the temporomandibular joint area.
It is the result of inflammation/infection of the muscles of mastication (muscles of chewing) – namely, the masseter, temporalis, the medial and lateral pterygoid.

8) Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).

9) Inflammation and swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, especially the submandibular nodes. This is called Cervical Lymphadenitis.

10) Visible facial signs: This may include swelling and redness (rubor) in the area of the partially impacted third molar (angle of the jaw).

11) Fever (pyrexia)…..due to an existing infection under the operculum.

12) Increased white blood cell count (Leucocytosis), again, due to the presence of an infection.

13) A general feeling of being un-well (malaise) due to fever, swelling etc.

14) A loss of appetite.

15) If viewed on an x-ray, the bone may appear ‘radiopaque‘. Chronic pericoronitis produces a lot of inflammation. The inflammation will not allow the penetration of radiation through the area; this shows up as light or white (radiopaque) on an x-ray.

16) Dental decay: It is very difficult to clean under the operculum. Cavities can develop quite easily even if you have very good oral hygiene.


Don’t you think that the list above are good enough reasons for you to consider removing (extracting) your wisdom teeth?

If you have any questions regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact our office….yours in good health!

Dr. F. Keshavarz Dentistry


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