Pericoronitis is an inflammation of the gums around a tooth that has only partially emerged. Most commonly this happens when wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt through the gums. As a result, bacteria become trapped in the folds around the tooth, which then infect the surrounding soft tissues. Pericoronitis can be short term or chronic. Short term symptoms usually last 3 to 4 days and can include severe pain, swelling, pus discharge, and fever. Chronic symptoms last for 1 or 2 days but recur over a period of months. Symptoms include dull pain and swollen gums in the affected area. Your dentist can diagnose pericoronitis during a clinical exam. Antibiotics are often prescribed and you can take over the counter medicines to reduce pain and swelling.