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Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Ear Pain?

Wisdom teeth removal can be spurred by a number of situations, including discomfort and crowding—but can wisdom teeth cause ear pain?

Problems with Wisdom Teeth

Although some people may go their entire life without any pain related to their wisdom teeth, this is not typical. Wisdom teeth become problematic when there isn’t enough room in your mouth for the teeth to fully come in.
Way back when our ancestors were hunters and gatherers, people had much larger jaws to accommodate more teeth used for chewing and grinding roots, tough meats, and other foods. In today’s world, our foods are prepared differently and are much easier to chew, negating the need for big strong wisdom teeth. Our jaws have since adapted and are smaller, causing problems when wisdom teeth grow in.
Too-small jaws can lead to wisdom teeth being impacted or even infected. Both are extremely painful!

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When wisdom teeth cause ear pain, that’s a pretty good sign that they are impacted. This is caused by the tooth being blocked from fully erupting through the gums.
If a wisdom tooth’s path to erupting is blocked, it grows in at an angle and wreaks havoc on your gums and jaw. Some of the signs of an impacted wisdom tooth include:

  • Ear pain
  • Swelling, tenderness, and pain in gums
  • Bad breath
  • Achy jaw
  • Difficulty opening mouth

When it comes to wisdom teeth pain, don’t wait to speak to a professional. Removing impacted wisdom teeth in a timely manner will prevent infection and any further problems that could arise by leaving them in longer than necessary.

Infected Wisdom Teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth that are left untreated can cause infection. Brushing and flossing around impacted or partially erupted teeth is difficult, so food and bacteria can easily be caught in the teeth leading to tooth decay. Even more problematic is the likelihood that those bacteria will enter the gums, causing infection deep in the gums and jaw. Wisdom teeth infections come with their own set of nasty symptoms, including:

  • Pus from the gum
  • Sore throat
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Fever
  • Tender and inflamed gum
  • Pain near the infection site

If you experience these symptoms, speak with your dentist or oral surgeon promptly since infections can become serious very quickly.

When to Remove Wisdom Teeth

As a general rule of thumb, wisdom teeth should be removed when they start causing problems. For most adults, that’s between the ages of 17 and 21, but your dentist or oral surgeon can help you know when the time is right. Pain in your jaw, gums, and ear are a good sign that you should talk with an oral surgeon sooner rather than later.

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here

If you’re suffering from an earache and wondering if wisdom teeth cause ear pain, our team at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is here to help. Impacted or infected wisdom teeth don’t stand a chance against us. Our board-certified oral surgeons are experienced in wisdom teeth extraction, dental implants, jaw surgeries, and more. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele, Utah. Schedule your free consultation today!


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