Do you know why our third set of upper and lower molars are called wisdom teeth? It is because of all the permanent teeth that we will have in our lifetime, these are the last to grow, and they erupt during the time that we are already in our late teens or young adulthood. This age is when we have had our fair share of experiences, or knowledge about life; hence, the nickname wisdom teeth. If you want to see if you already have your wisdom teeth or you have other dental concerns, feel free to book an appointment by clicking on this link. However, instead of becoming useful to us, wisdom teeth are commonly known to cause more problems than benefits. For instance, most people experience tenderness and discomfort while their third molars are erupting. Can wisdom teeth cause ear pain?
Can everyone have wisdom teeth?
Actually, we all have our third molars. The question should be directed towards the eruption of the said teeth. You see, while some have better alignment of their teeth that gives them enough jaw space for all four wisdom teeth to erupt, most people have jaws that adjust to the 28 teeth that erupted before the third molars. This situation leaves no space for the wisdom teeth, making them impacted or grow in the wrong direction. Worst-case scenarios include the following:
- The wisdom teeth lie horizontal to the jaw that as they grow, they push the neighboring teeth, making them overcrowded and crooked.
- Part of a wisdom tooth erupts and partially becomes visible on the surface of the gums. However, because most of the tooth is hidden, it causes incomplete cleaning of the tooth which may lead to infection and bacteria collection.
Both scenarios may lead to inflammation and infection of the gums and jaw surrounding the affected third molars which can cause more problems, including ear pain, pressure, gum bleeding, etc.
Can wisdom teeth cause ear pain?
You may ask, did I read it right? Can wisdom teeth cause ear pain? The answer is yes, it can. Not only ear pain, of course. Tooth pain and jaw ache are the most common complaints. For advanced infection, fever may be present, as well as severe pain to pressure or hot or cold stimuli. The toothache and discomfort may continue as long as there are triggers that stimulate the affected area, and it can last for more than 15 seconds, even after the cause is removed. As the area of irritation widens and worsens, the pain becomes more severe that it could radiate to the cheek, the jaw, or, yes, the ear.
There are also some patients who complain that their infected wisdom teeth cause ear pain due to the medications they take. Although over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be used safely, some patients may take it too often as they use it to get rid of the pain instead of getting a dental treatment. They do not correct the cause of the discomfort and instead mask the pain with these drugs. Unfortunately, wrong use of some medications can cause adverse reactions, and that may include ear pain, or worse, hearing loss. We then strongly advise that if ever you feel that you are experiencing the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth, be assertive and consult your dentist so he can give you advice and recommend dental procedures that may help ease the problem and the pain you may be feeling.