Dental Care

Wisdom Teeth Jaw Pain

Wanting to know more about wisdom teeth jaw pain? You know, there are all kinds of medical mysteries that tend to remain unanswered.

Among the most confounding are those having to do with various body parts that seem to serve absolutely no real functions.

For example, why do we have an appendix if it is unnecessary, and even dangerous? What about wisdom teeth? They aren’t really significant, and yet they can cause all kinds of problems.

Just consider the links between wisdom teeth and jaw pain.

For example, it is fairly common for someone in their mid-30s to awake one morning with a dull and throbbing pain in their upper or lower jaw. As the days pass, they may even notice a bit of swelling in their jaw area and in the interior of their mouth. When they head to their dentist they are told that that their wisdom teeth and jaw pain are related.

Usually this is due to something like a wisdom tooth that cannot erupt through into the mouth, which is also known as an impacted wisdom tooth.

There are a number of different varieties of impacted wisdom teeth, but almost all of them will lead to some sort of pain or discomfort in the jaw.

They include:

  • Mesial impactions – this is when the tooth is angled towards the front of the mouth;
  • Vertical impactions – generally this is a tooth that is vertically aligned, but which cannot emerge through the gum tissue;
  • Horizontal impactions – these are wisdom teeth that are actually lying on their sides in the gum tissue and which have no chance of emerging at all;
  • Distal impactions – this is when the tooth is angled towards the back of the mouth
  • Soft tissue impactions – this describes the wisdom tooth that is stuck only partially emerged; and
  • Bony impactions – these are teeth that still encased in the actual jaw bone.

So, what is the link between such wisdom teeth and jaw pain?

When we understand that an impacted tooth just cannot be accommodated inside the mouth of the individual, we immediately begin to see how that might lead to some serious pain.

Basically any sort of impacted wisdom tooth will create an enormous amount of pressure in the bone of the jaw, and this will eventually lead to swelling and discomfort.

Need an example? Let’s look at the situation in reverse…say you have all of your adult molars, and you are asked to “squeeze” another additional one in on each side of your mouth.

If you open up your mouth and look at the farthest teeth, you may see that you have a lot of pink gum tissue remaining. You are not a likely candidate for wisdom teeth jaw pain because you probably have enough room for the teeth to emerge (if they haven’t done so already).

On the other hand, you may not see much additional gum at all, and this would mean that forcing additional teeth into the space would be impossible. This is usually what is going on inside the jaw and mouth of someone experiencing true wisdom teeth jaw pain.

Naturally, this is the primary reason that millions of people seek to have all of their wisdom teeth removed. The ease with which this process can occur will vary according to the positions of the teeth.

For example, the patient may have three very vertical impactions that are relatively simple to take out, and then they may have a fourth tooth that is horizontal and at risk for causing some nerve damage.

Once the wisdom teeth are gone, your pain related to impaction will disappear quickly too. Unfortunately, this may not be where the trouble ends and this is because there is also a link between wisdom teeth and jaw pain after extraction as well. This can be due to several things, including:

  • Dry socket – unfortunately, this is a leading cause for wisdom teeth jaw pain following extraction. What happens is that the body fails to retain the blood clot formed immediately after the tooth is removed. This clot causes the gum and jaw tissue to heal, and when it is absent, the healing cannot occur. At such times this leaves the jaw open to exposure, and this often leads to serious pain. Fortunately, this is easily remedied when a patient visits their oral surgeon or dentist right away. It requires little more than medicated gauze, careful rinsing, and some follow up visits to treat successfully.
  • Nerve damage – when preparing for wisdom tooth removal, a dentist will run a full set of dental x-rays. Often this will illustrate if any of the nerves are at risk for injury during extraction. Should a nerve suffer some damage during the removal process, there is likely to be numbness in the chin, jaw, teeth or facial area. This may also lead to some “referred” wisdom teeth jaw pain too. This is pain sent to another area of the face along the affected nerve; and
  • Bruising from the extraction process – this is a very temporary form of wisdom teeth jaw pain, but it must be mentioned. You should not be upset if you notice some bruising along your jaw, face or neck in the days after the removal of wisdom teeth. This is because the process is quite difficult and an oral surgeon may be forced to apply pressure to an area of the face in order to remove an impacted tooth. This will go away quickly, and most over the counter medications will help to reduce any discomfort.

Any wisdom teeth jaw pain should be taken seriously because it is a sign that something is going on with this part of the mouth.

Many people suffer through years of headache, teeth clenching, and discomfort because they ignore the pain caused by their wisdom teeth.

What most dental experts say, however, is that the earlier in life you have difficult wisdom teeth extracted, the less likely you are to suffer any of the difficult or negative side effects from the process.


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