The extraction of wisdom teeth is a common practice. When wisdom teeth protrude through the gums, it can often cause problems. An impacted wisdom tooth is a tooth that grows in at an angle as opposed to straight through the gum line. The tooth may also come in unevenly or only partially come through the gums. All of these situations can cause pain.
Pericoronitis is a condition caused by a partially emerged wisdom tooth that has developed an infection. The partially emerged wisdom tooth may develop a flap of skin (operculum) that covers the tooth. This skin can make it difficult to clean the tooth. When pieces of food get caught under the skin, the tooth may develop an infection (pericoronitis). This infection causes pain and swelling in the affected area. This will eventually go away by itself, but may cause temporary discomfort.
When impacted teeth or wisdom teeth cause problems, such as infections, they may need to be removed. Doctors may recommend removing the single tooth or all four wisdom teeth. Depending on what the doctor and the patient decide, the procedure can be done using a local anesthesia that will only numb the area that is being extracted or general anesthesia may be used, where the patient will be sedated.