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How to Recognize Oral Cancer in the Early Stages

Swollen gums and inflammation around a wisdom tooth is not something that you want to ignore. It indicates that there is an infection, and it could become severe. This condition is called pericoronitis. Watching for other symptoms that accompany it is essential, and it needs to be diagnosed quickly by your dentist. 

The Cause

Pericoronitis is caused when a wisdom tooth is only partially sticking out of the gums. It does not fully erupt. This enables food particles and bacteria to enter the gums next to the tooth and get trapped there, causing inflamed gums. In severe cases, the inflammation keeps spreading and can extend into your cheeks and neck. 


The symptoms that you want to watch to indicate that the infection is spreading and has started to reach a dangerous level. If left alone, it can become fatal. The symptoms are fever, an earache, and you will have difficulty breathing. The infection can be rather painful. You may also taste pus and have bad breath. If there is a tooth above that wisdom tooth, it will likely be painful when you bite down due to the inflammation. 

In addition to having difficulty breathing, some other symptoms reveal that you should see a doctor right away. You might be having muscle spasms in your jaw, lymph nodes that are swollen under your jaw, or your face may be swollen. 

This condition can also lead to gum disease. Once it gets started and becomes periodontitis, it can affect your gums and teeth. The inflammation spreads, and your immune system reaction starts to destroy your gums, the ligaments that support your teeth, and your jawbone. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

The dentist will need to look at and diagnose the condition. With pericoronitis, the dentist will need to drain the pus and clean the area. Antibiotics will need to be given, and saltwater rinses will need to be made for several days. It is also possible that you will need wisdom teeth removal. 

When Should I See the Dentist?

If you have swollen gums around a wisdom tooth, consider it a serious oral emergency matter. You need to get swollen gums treatment right away, which may include a wisdom tooth extraction.