I think I have an operculum, a partially erupted wisdom tooth. Is this okay?
November 19, 2007 2:17 PM Subscribe
I've got a wisdom tooth partly in. While it's not causing me discomfort, it smells weird and I think I've found the medical name for it: operculum. Suggestions? Experiences? More inside.
posted by GilloD to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've never had a problem with my wisdom teeth. My dentist has said that it looks like they should come in fine. Over the last couple of years there's been some mild discomfort but nothing severe. None of teeth are all the way in yet, but last week my lower right wisdom tooth starting making a go for it. After a few days of general soreness I was left with a tooth maybe halfway out, horizontally. The other part of the tooth is still under the gum.
Wikipedia lends this: "Sometimes the wisdom tooth fails to erupt completely through the gum bed and the gum at the back of the wisdom tooth extends over the biting surface, forming a soft tissue flap or lid around the tooth called an operculum. Teeth covered by an operculum can be difficult to clean with a toothbrush. Additional cleaning techniques can include using a needle-less plastic syringe to vigorously wash the tooth with moderately pressured water or to softly wash it with hydrogen peroxide.
However, debris and bacteria can easily accumulate under an operculum, which may cause pericoronitis, a common infection problem in young adults "
That sounds an awful lot like my case. If I rub my finger on the area and sniff my finger (That sounds gross.) it smells a lot like a tonsil stone; That is, decay and general bad odor. As a result I've taken to becoming a maniac brusher and a mouthwash swiller, as well a twice daily salt water swisher. Is this enough? For what it's worth, the odor subsides for a few hours after, uh, sanitizing. The tooth and the gum area around it are fine. There's no redness, soreness or any sign than anything is up other than that gross smell.
Also, this one is a bit out there, but I caught a nasty cold just after. Are the two related?
My Q: Any Mefi-ites had this problem? Is it enough to just wait for the tooth to come through? I have no insurance, so even if I could afford the visit, extraction would very likely be outside my means. Stories, references and suggestions are much appreciated!