Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, could develop into a serious health concern if it’s not dealt with. We regularly treat patients struggling with gum infections at Fresh Meadows Dental Care in Flushing, but when inflammation is recurrent around an impacted tooth, an extraction might be necessary.
Pericoronitis is the name dentists give to infections surrounding a natural crown. Teeth are said to be “impacted” when they are unable to push through the gum line. This most often happens to the wisdom teeth, which are the largest and usually the last to erupt. By the time they emerge in late adolescence, the patient’s jawbones have fused together and they have usually finished orthodontic therapy. As a result, the wisdom teeth are overcrowded and get stuck partway through erupting, leaving them partially covered by a flap of gum tissue called an operculum. The operculum often becomes inflamed when bacteria build up beneath it.
Patients can combat pericoronitis by taking oral antibacterial medication and rinsing their mouths with saltwater. But if the operculum does not recede, it will keep on getting infected until it or the wisdom tooth is removed. As part of our care for teenage patients, we’ll investigate for warning signs that a tooth is likely to be impacted before overcrowding or infections develop.
Farid Hakimzadeh, DDS, operates Fresh Meadows Dental Care at 58-47 Francis Lewis Blvd., Suite 100, Flushing, New York, 11364. To schedule an appointment, call 718-224-7272 or visit Fresh Meadows Dental and fill out a contact form.