Jaw pain from wisdom tooth is a common problem experienced by many people. The eruption of wisdom teeth, which are the third and final set of molars in the mouth, can be uncomfortable for some individuals, causing jaw pain and other symptoms. This article will discuss what causes jaw pain related to wisdom tooth and how it can be effectively treated. We will also provide tips on prevention and home remedies to help relieve the discomfort caused by wisdom teeth.
What is Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom teeth are the last of four sets of molars located in the back of the mouth, behind the second set of premolars. They usually erupt between ages 17 and 25, although they can sometimes appear at a younger age.
Wisdom teeth are often misaligned and can cause overcrowding in the mouth, leading to pain, swelling, and even damage to other teeth. In some cases, wisdom teeth may have difficulty erupting through the gum line due to insufficient space or inadequate bone support for their root structure. This is called impaction.
Why Wisdom Tooth Can Cause Jaw Pain?
Wisdom tooth can cause jaw pain due to overcrowding, impaction, infection, gum inflammation, and other causes. When wisdom teeth are misaligned or impacted, it can create pressure on the surrounding tissue, which leads to pain and discomfort in the jaw. In addition, misaligned wisdom teeth can lead to infection as food particles and bacteria become trapped in the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
Anatomy of Wisdom Tooth
Location and Position
Wisdom teeth are located behind the second set of premolars at the back of the mouth. They usually emerge in pairs on either side of the upper and lower jaw. However, they may occasionally appear in other places or not appear at all.
The eruption process of wisdom teeth usually takes several months and can cause pain as the tooth breaks through the gum line. In some cases, this process can last for years, depending on how difficult it is for the tooth to erupt. As the wisdom tooth emerges from beneath the gums, it may push against other teeth in the mouth, leading to pain and discomfort.
Causes of Wisdom Tooth Pain
Impacted wisdom teeth cannot erupt due to insufficient space or inadequate bone support for their root structure. This can cause pressure and pain in the jaw area as the tooth is blocked from emerging properly.
In cases where there is not enough room for the wisdom tooth to erupt, they may become misaligned or crowded. This can cause pain and discomfort as the tooth is forced against another tooth to make room for itself.
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, food particles and bacteria can get trapped in hard-to-reach areas of the mouth, leading to infection. Infection of the wisdom tooth can cause jaw pain, swelling, and even fever.
4. Gum Inflammation
The eruption of the wisdom tooth can also cause inflammation of the gums, leading to redness and tenderness in the area where the tooth erupts. This can be painful and may require medical attention.
Symptoms of wisdom tooth pain
Sharp or Dull Pain: The most common symptom of wisdom tooth is pain, which may range from a dull ache to a sharp, throbbing pain. This can occur when the tooth erupts through the gum line or becomes misaligned or impacted.
Swelling: Swelling of the gums may also occur when wisdom teeth are erupting, leading to tenderness and discomfort in the jaw area. In some cases, this swelling can be accompanied by fever.
Tender or Bleeding Gums: Gums may become tender and bleed when wisdom teeth erupt due to pressure from the tooth pushing against them. This is normal and should resolve once the tooth has fully emerged.
Bad Breath: Infection of wisdom tooth can lead to bad breath as bacteria accumulate in the affected area. A foul taste in the mouth may also accompany this.
Diagnosis and Test
A dental examination is the first step in diagnosing jaw pain from wisdom tooth. The dentist will look for signs of impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth during this exam, such as crowding, swelling, and infection.
X-rays of the tooth and jaw can also help to identify impacted wisdom teeth. These X-rays will show how the tooth is situated in relation to other teeth and any infections or abscesses that may be present.
In some cases, additional tests may be necessary to diagnose the cause of jaw pain from wisdom tooth. These may include a CT scan or MRI to determine the exact location and position of the wisdom tooth.
Home Remedies for Wisdom Tooth Pain in Jaw
1) Saltwater Rinse
Rinsing with salt water can help to reduce inflammation and pain caused by wisdom teeth. To do this, mix a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and swish it around the affected area for 30 seconds.
2) Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress to the jaw can help to reduce swelling and discomfort. Do this by wrapping a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and applying it to the affected area for 15-20 minutes.
3) Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help to reduce the discomfort caused by wisdom teeth. Follow the instructions on the packaging or ask your doctor for advice before taking any medications.
4) Tea Bags
Applying a warm tea bag to the affected area can also provide relief from wisdom tooth pain. This is because tea contains tannic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. To use this remedy, steep a tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes and then apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
5) Clove Oil
Clove oil is a natural anesthetic that can reduce pain and discomfort from wisdom teeth. To use this remedy, mix one teaspoon of clove oil with two tablespoons of olive oil and apply it to the affected area using a cotton swab. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
6) Herbal Remedies
Herbal remedies such as chamomile, ginger, and peppermint effectively relieve pain caused by wisdom teeth. These remedies can be applied topically or taken as a tea or supplement. Consult your doctor before taking any herbal remedies.
Prevention and Oral Care
Regular Dental Visits
Regular dental visits can help detect wisdom tooth issues before they become too severe. During these visits, your dentist will look for signs of overcrowding or infection and may recommend treatment if necessary.
Healthy Eating Habits
Eating a balanced diet low in sugar and fiber can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, which can help prevent pain from wisdom teeth. Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, and celery can also help clean the mouth’s hard-to-reach areas where bacteria may accumulate.
Proper Oral Hygiene
Proper oral hygiene is essential for preventing pain from wisdom teeth. This includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. It is also important to avoid smoking and drinking alcohol as these activities can irritate the gums and make them more susceptible to infection.
Recovery and Aftercare
After a wisdom tooth extraction, following your dentist’s instructions for aftercare is important. This may include taking over-the-counter pain relievers and avoiding hot foods and drinks. It is also important to avoid smoking or drinking alcohol during the recovery period. Keeping the area clean by brushing and flossing regularly can help reduce the risk of infection and speed up healing. It is also important to get enough rest and drink plenty of fluids during the recovery period.
Complications and Risks
The most common complication after a wisdom tooth extraction is a dry socket, which can occur when the blood clot that forms in the socket does not heal properly. A dry socket can be painful and may require medical attention. Other complications include infection, excessive bleeding, swelling, and jaw stiffness.
In rare cases, wisdom tooth extraction can result in damage to the nerves. This can cause numbness, tingling, or pain in the jaw area. If this occurs, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Infection can also spread to other body parts if not treated properly. This can lead to serious complications such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty breathing, and even death in extreme cases.
When to Seek Professional Help
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms after a wisdom tooth extraction:
- Excessive bleeding
- Swelling or redness in the jaw area
- Numbness or tingling in the face or jaw area.
- Difficulty opening the mouth.
If left untreated, these symptoms can become more severe and lead to serious complications. It is also important to seek medical attention if you experience pain that does not go away with over-the-counter pain relievers or home remedies.
In conclusion, wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. However, many ways exist to reduce the pain and prevent further complications. Regular dental visits, healthy eating habits, proper oral hygiene, and over-the-counter medications can help manage the symptoms of wisdom tooth pain. Home remedies such as salt water rinses and cold compresses can relieve pain. In cases of severe pain or infection, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The wisdom tooth can be managed without serious complications with proper care and treatment.
Yes, wisdom teeth can cause headaches due to the pressure they put on adjacent teeth. If you experience persistent headaches that do not go away with over-the-counter pain relievers or home remedies, it is important to seek medical attention.
Yes, wisdom teeth can cause a sore throat due to pressure on the surrounding tissue.
No, aspirin should not be used to treat the pain from wisdom teeth as it can increase the risk of bleeding. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are recommended for managing wisdom tooth pain. It is important to consult your doctor before taking any medications.
Yes, wisdom tooth pain can cause ear pain due to the pressure they put on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).