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Wisdom Tooth Infections & Ear Infections

By Sabrina Ehlert ; Updated July 27, 2017

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars appear in teens and adults. Most people experience pain and discomfort as their wisdom teeth grow due to the lack of room inside their mouths. Sometimes, the appearance of wisdom teeth can also cause other heath problems such as ear infections that may be caused by an infection in the wisdom tooth.

Ear and Tooth Ache

Tooth aches can be mild to severe aching or throbbing on one or both sides of the upper and/or lower jaw. Depending on the location of the pain, it can sometimes radiate up to the ear, causing ear aches. Conversely, some ear aches have been known to cause pain in the jaw or teeth area, causing tooth aches. This occurs because of the proximity of the ears to the jaws and teeth. Depending on the location of the pain, the nerves may misinterpret to location of the pain, sending signals to both the tooth and ear nerves.

Issues with Wisdom Teeth

Tooth pain associated with wisdom teeth is a common affliction for adults. The wisdom teeth are located at the very back of the jaw, and can cause moderate to severe pain that radiates up the jaw to the ears. Wisdom teeth can cause dental and health issues, such as; impaction, abscesses, wrapping around nerves and jaw line, and most dentists suggest that wisdom teeth are removed before they can cause serious problems.

Infections in the Mouth and Ears

The human mouth is teeming with bacteria that are both harmful and helpful. Cuts, sores, abscesses, and other injuries in the mouth can easily cause an infection. If left untreated, an infection in the mouth can quickly spread to other areas of the head including the sinuses and the ears. It is sometimes hard to know if an ear infection is caused by an infection of the mouth or teeth, but people who have reoccurring ear infections that coincide with tooth pain, like wisdom tooth eruption, should consult a dentist.

Wisdom Tooth Infection

Wisdom teeth can negatively impact the jaw and tooth line necessitating removal. A wisdom tooth that impacts with another molar or breaks can open the mouth and jaw line to infection. Wisdom tooth extraction is a major dental surgery, especially in the case of impaction or breakage, and infection can set in after the surgery. Infections associated with wisdom teeth and wisdom tooth extraction can spread to the ears if not treated.

Avoiding Infection

To avoid infections in the mouth associated with wisdom teeth and wisdom tooth extraction, it is very important to practice good dental hygiene. Since the jaw, sinus, and ears are close together, infections in one area can impact others; because mouths are full of bacteria, infections originating from the jaw or teeth are not uncommon. Daily tooth brushing and flossing can help keep the teeth and gums healthy, warding off gingivitis and other issues with the teeth and gums that can quickly lead to infections. Following dental instructions after a wisdom tooth extraction; food modification, daily rinsing with warm salt water, and tooth brushing, can help minimize the risk of an infection.

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