My wisdom teeth have recently starting bothering me. I’ve been told that some discomfort is normal, but when I took a look, there is a lot of swelling and around the edges where the tooth is coming in, it looks bubbled. Is that just irritation? I’m not sure if wisdom teeth pain is considered a dental emergency and I don’t want my dentist to think I am wasting her time. What should I do? — Amy in Illinois
What you are describing sounds like pericoronitis. While pericoronitis doesn’t start out as a dental emergency, it can quickly escalate to something more serious.
When a tooth erupts, a gap or a flap of skin can sometimes develop and food or bacteria can get trapped. It’s very common with wisdom teeth, and at first it may just seem like irritation. It’s best to catch it early in this stage and begin rinsing with salt water to removing any debris and start the healing process.
If the irritation goes too long, infection can start under the gums and form a “bubble” or abscess. Your dentist will want to identify and treat the infection and prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of the mouth, jaw or body. Don’t wait around to see if this clears up – consider it a dental emergency that needs treatment right away.
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