Posts Tagged ‘wisdom teeth’

Natural Relief from Pericoronitis

We learned a few weeks ago that crowded wisdom teeth are the most common root cause of pericoronitis because of their slow and inhibited, often incomplete, emergence. Since a lifetime of prevention is really the only “cure” for crowded teeth, we’re left to manage the consequences of malnourishment. Pericoronitis is just one painful, unfortunate result of the wisdom teeth not having enough room to come in properly.

Many, if not most, people have their wisdom teeth removed either out of necessity or recommendation by their dentists. A good number of people keep those teeth, however, for one reason or another. A few have wisdom teeth that come in normally and healthily. Regardless of where you stand, an oral irrigator is an indispensable tool for prevention and early treatment should your wisdom teeth become susceptible to an infection like pericoronitis.

An irrigator is an excellent appliance to keep by your bathroom sink. We can show you how to use it if you don’t have any experience with one. Oral irrigation is one of the best things you can do for your gums, whether it’s around your wisdom teeth or the rest of them. The clean feeling they leave behind is unbelievable. Particular to pericoronitis, though, it is one of the easiest ways to keep the large gum pockets around the wisdom teeth free of food particles, making it an inhospitable environment for infection.

Even if an infection does set in, an irrigator is good for keeping the area clean and hopefully speeding up the process. Of the two scenarios you want to be in, prevention is by far better; irrigating the area affected by pericoronitis will help, but will be incredibly painful.

What are some other ways of coping with a pericoronitis infection?

In my office, we can help with some ozone treatment or laser therapy. This is probably the most effective treatment.

At-home remedies include rinsing or irrigating with a solution of warm water and baking soda. This can be very soothing, but must be done frequently because the effect is temporary. It is helpful for keeping your mouth clean, however. Adding hydrogen peroxide to your oral irrigator is also a good idea.

Diluting top-quality clove bud essential oil in a carrier oil (like coconut oil, which is also healing to gum tissue) and applying it to the area can help. Start with a 1:30 ratio of clove bud oil to carrier oil and work your way up until you feel the numbing effect. You might receive compliments for smelling like pumpkin pie.

You are a trooper if you make it through a bout of pericoronitis without pharmaceutical assistance. Pericoronitis can develop into something more serious, so don’t completely mask the symptoms with painkillers. As I’ve said before, while you’re treating it, consuming only nourishing, well-cooked soft or liquid foods will ease the chewing burden on your teeth and will help your immune system fight the infection.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles


What Causes Pericoronitis?

I wrote a post on pericoronitis some time ago, and it remains the most popular post on this blog.

I’m going to pose a new concept for many readers:  Did you know that all of our adult teeth are supposed to fit in our mouths? And did you know that the reason they don’t is because of nutritional deficiencies starting from the time of conception in the womb and carrying on into a child’s adolescence? Crowded, crooked, and impacted teeth are a result of underdeveloped skull, facial, and palate structure. The exact causes behind an underdeveloped skull and skeleton are details for another post, maybe a different blog entirely, or you can overwhelm yourself with incredible information on this site or in this book. However, although other factors contribute, you can be sure that diet plays the leading role in determining both short- and long-term tooth and bone health.

That being said, if we and our mothers all had perfect diets, pericoronitis would be a rare infection. But it is not. Pericoronitis is ubiquitous nowadays because the health of our society has swiftly deteriorated in the last century, thus wisdom teeth have no room to grow straight or emerge quickly in our small skulls and narrow palates. It’s too bad that the time for prevention and healthy bone development is long past by the time wisdom teeth start coming in for most people. Invasive surgeries and removals are not only normal, but expected.

Since wisdom teeth typically grow in crookedly, large pockets between the tooth and gums form as the tooth erupts slowly, partially, or in the wrong direction. These pockets are hard to see and reach for cleaning. They are perfect breeding grounds for infection if malignant bacteria find their way to the area and set up camp. The infection feels more serious than it really is, but it should be monitored because it could easily spread and become a sincere threat to your immune system (although the pain is almost always enough to get your attention). It can last for about two weeks, give or take. The minute your gums feel sore in the area is the minute you need to find a sink, an irrigator, and hydrogen peroxide. A clean mouth and a steady intake of probiotics are essential for overcoming this miserable form of gum disease.

Anyone out there suffering from it right now? My next post will go over some of the more useful, natural ways to soothe the pain and help your body fight the infection.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

Musings and More On Dental Irrigation

I am stating the obvious when I say that the Internet is the foremost consulted source of knowledge and answers to the world’s questions. We do it without thinking. Where was the transition, and why, in retrospect, does it feel like it happened without us noticing? Once upon a time, there was no cyberspace, no “online,”no instant mental gratification (unless you lived next-door to a library). What did we do all day? How did we work? As a dentist highly reliant on the latest technology available, the Internet has become a part of the skeleton of my practice. Without it, my practice would have fizzled out long ago in this fast-paced world.

But I do not mean to get all philosophical with you today. Today’s post just got me partly reminiscing about days gone by when society was more “awake” to the physical world around it, but also causing me to express gratitude in how much computers have transformed science and medicine and my own work.

In the online world of patients searching for solutions for their dental diseases and ails, oral irrigation has been quite a popular topic lately. I must say it’s for good reason. It is one of the best at-home dental hygiene routines you can maintain at home.

Pericoronitis, in particular, seems to be the central purpose for which people seek healing and relief through irrigation. Pericoronitis, if you remember, is an infection which develops under a gum flap of emerging teeth — usually the wisdom teeth of young adults. It is caused by the body defending itself from a foreign invader, which is usually an overabundance of bacteria feeding on a particle of uncleaned food. The pain is quite severe. The infection will remain swollen for up to several days or a few weeks. Even someone in good health has a tough time kicking this infection in less time, which is why it is so important to prevent it in the first place. Irrigation does just that, and it does it very well.

In those hard-to-reach areas around your teeth — and there are many — an oral irrigator shoots thin streams of water, ozone water, or diluted oral cleansing solutions, gently forcing out the debris that is not supposed to be there. Finely squirted liquid crawls into the places that floss can’t reach, effectively cleansing and leaving the mouth refreshed. How does this help healing and preventing infections? We’ll look into that tomorrow.

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles

Irrigating and Rinsing for Pericoronitis

Irrigators are particularly useful for cleaning wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, because they are so far back in the mouth, are hard to see, let alone reach or clean well. The area surrounding them is especially prone to gum infections because, when wisdom teeth are emerging (or haven’t emerged properly), the gums are “in limbo” — not fully shrunken and tightened around the still-emerging third molars — and are usually full of loose pockets that trap all kinds of food and bacteria. When this area gets infected, pericoronitis develops.

Pericoronitis is somewhat similar to gingivitis, except it is specifically centered around one or more wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, it is quite common and is very painful. The symptoms of pericoronitis include redness and swelling in the area, pain, jaw stiffness, slight discharge, bad taste, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck. If left to itself, the infection will spread and become more serious.

Depending on the state of the wisdom tooth’s development and how well it is frequently cleaned, pericoronitis may or may not be a recurring infection. Those with unhealthy diets and poor hygienic habits will be more prone to the infection than those who stay on top of their physical health and daily thorough oral hygiene.

If you are one of many unfortunate battlers against pericoronitis, it is important to remember that cleanliness is priority. The two best recommendations I can make for healing would be frequent irrigation and rinsing. In my office, we could zap it out pretty quickly with ozone gas and a dental laser.

At home, as soon as you start feeling pain and swollenness in the area around the tooth, you need to immediately begin flushing it out with an oral irrigator several times a day (certainly after each meal). I can supply ozonated water to irrigate with, but hydrogen peroxide (don’t swallow!) and a bit of baking soda also work well. Be sure the tip of the irrigator reaches down under the gums in the swollen area. It will be uncomfortable, but if you nip it in the bud, you’ll save yourself far more severe pain down the road.

Along with frequent irrigation, you can also rinse your mouth during the day with a baking soda solution. You only need a pinch (1/8 tsp or less) per mouthful of warm water. This will provide some relief as the infection heals and help keep the rest of your mouth clean.

Brushing and flossing should be done after every meal — which should also consist of healthy foods — if it is not too painful to eat in the first place. Some find that temporarily resorting to liquid foods only (such as homemade smoothies and soups) causes less discomfort and keeps the mouth cleaner. Increasing superfoods to help your immune system along is a good idea.

Following these steps, the infection should resolve itself in a week or two. Yes, an entire week… or two! Keep your wisdom teeth sparkling — pericoronitis is not a pleasant experience that resolves itself overnight!

Dr. Sperbeck, West Los Angeles