Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Ear Pain?

Woman in pain holding ice pack to face to relieve wisdom teeth pain

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Nerves in the face, jaw, and teeth are located close together, and pain or complications in one area can often affect another. Wisdom teeth can cause ear pain and many other symptoms if impacted or infected and left untreated.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are located furthest back in your mouth. These teeth are molars that come through the gum later in life, typically during the late teens or early twenties. Although they erupt (break through the gums) at a later age, this is a normal part of mouth development. Not everyone has wisdom teeth, but for those that do, impacted wisdom teeth are quite common.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

An impacted wisdom tooth is one that, due to lack of room to emerge, is stuck below the surface of the gums or grows at an odd angle and emerges correctly. Complications from impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to other teeth, or infection. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth can manifest as red swollen gums, jaw pain, bleeding gums, bad breath, or difficulty opening the mouth.

Infected Wisdom Teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth growing at odd angles are at risk of infection because they are difficult to clean. Also, due to their location at the farthest part of the mouth, it is easy to miss thoroughly brushing around the teeth, leaving food and bacteria trapped in the teeth and gums. In addition, some bacteria types lead to infections in wisdom teeth and spread to other areas of the mouth or head if left untreated.

Wisdom Teeth Pain and Ear Pain

Infected or impacted wisdom teeth can cause intense and frequent ear pain due to a nerve connection. The inferior alveolar nerve connects your teeth to your ears. A branch of the mandibular nerve responsible for sensations in the teeth and gums, temporal skin, lower lip, and lower part of the face, the inferior alveolar nerve branch is responsible for sensory stimulation in the cheeks, lips, chin, teeth, and gums. This nerve also runs close to the ears. A cavity, infection, or other issues with wisdom teeth can also relay sensations through the nerve near the ear, causing an earache.

Removing Wisdom Teeth

There’s good news though — wisdom teeth that cause problems can be removed! Wisdom teeth that are not causing any issues do not require removal. However, it is important to remember that wisdom teeth can cause problems without you feeling any pain in your mouth. X-rays can reveal issues or potential issues, and your dentist will advise you about removal. Issues caused by wisdom teeth include damage to other teeth, jaw damage, swollen gums, sinus issues, cavities, and earaches.

Wisdom teeth removal aftermath can include recovery time lasting several days following the surgery. Following recovery, with proper home care, wisdom teeth removal will relieve pain and improve oral health.

Synergy Dental Implant and Surgery Center

If you are in the West Valley/Reseda area of California, we are here to serve you! Would you like to learn more about how wisdom teeth removal or other restorative or preventative dental care could help you? Contact us so you can schedule a consultation at one of our convenient locations.

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