Dr. Nunn's Dental Blog

Is Your Teen Suffering from this Dental Infection?

Is Your Teen Suffering from this Dental Infection?

by Dr. Nunn

teen suffering dental infection dentist springfieldThe dental infection known as pericoronitis can affect anyone at any age, but it is especially common in the 17-21 year old age group. A top Springfield MO dentist advises parents to be on the lookout for signs of the dental infection that frequently affects teens and young adults.

What is Pericoronitis?

Pericoronitis is a localized infection around the crown or upper portion of a tooth. When bacteria have invaded the space between the gum tissue and the crown of the tooth, the area can become inflamed and infected. Redness and swelling are typically the first symptoms, but pain, fever, and bleeding can also occur.

Why is this a problem?

A long-term or chronic infection can be a heavy burden on the immune system. As the bacteria from the gum infection invade the bloodstream, the immune system struggles to eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, the infection cannot be resolved without professional dental or medical care. However, as the immune system is strained by the infection, the body is less able to fight other viruses and illnesses throughout the body.

Why is this so common in teens?

Pericoronitis is frequently seen around partially erupted wisdom teeth. When a wisdom tooth is unable to erupt completely, a portion of the tooth may remain trapped under a loose flap of gum tissue. Although this area is hard to clean with a toothbrush, floss, or mouth rinse, bacteria and food debris can easily hide below the surface. The wisdom teeth usually begin to erupt during the late teen-early adult years, and this is when we are most likely to see the onset of an infection like pericoronitis.

What should you do?

If you suspect that your teen has a partially erupted wisdom tooth or any signs of pericoronitis, contact a Springfield MO dentist for an evaluation today.