Can wisdom teeth cause neck pain? As the last teeth to appear in the mouth, wisdom teeth can be the source of many problems. Because they don’t usually develop until ages 17-24, they may not have enough room to grow, causing painful crowding. This means that these four wisdom teeth can only partially or in some cases not come into the mouth at all.
Wisdom teeth are the source of a lot of pain, and their removal is usually the best option to alleviate symptoms of impaction. What may not be commonly known is their ability to affect other areas of the body, causing symptoms of headaches and neck pain. This article will attempt to provide answers to those wondering about the full range of wisdom tooth pain, including lesser-known symptoms such as headaches and neck pain.
Warning Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The pain caused by damaged wisdom teeth is one of the few oral health problems that can seriously interfere with your daily life. Fortunately, impacted wisdom teeth can be detected early with a panellipse x-ray and your dentist can identify them before they start causing you pain. If you don’t take care of impacted wisdom teeth, several symptoms will appear as the condition worsens.
Throbbing Pain in the Back of the Mouth:
Impacted wisdom teeth cause severe pain, especially if left untreated. The pain usually starts in the back of the mouth and around the wisdom teeth area. The pain may begin to spread to surrounding teeth as the infection grows.
Swelling Around the Jaw:
Injured wisdom teeth usually cause swelling in both the gums and the jaw. It may start as mild swelling, but it can quickly worsen and make it difficult to open your mouth. However, you may also face a crick in neck due to this condition.
Swollen, Sensitive, and Bleeding Gums:
Gum problems are another consequence of untreated impacted wisdom teeth. The gums may swell and be tender to the touch. They may bleed when pressure is applied, especially when flossing. Swollen gums can also be a sign of gum disease, so it’s best to see your dentist right away if you experience this symptom.
Swollen Nodes in the Neck or Shoulders:
Swollen glands in the shoulders or neck are a clear sign of impacted wisdom teeth, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms.
Temporomandibular joint headaches, which connect the skull and jaw, are common with impacted wisdom teeth. If the pain is not treated, it can spread to other areas of the face.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, it is best to call Pine Tree Dental right away. As the condition of your impacted wisdom teeth worsens, other serious symptoms may appear, such as:
- Damage or misalignment of teeth (infested wisdom teeth can push on adjacent teeth and cause infections.)
- Gum disease (Affected teeth are prone to infection and decay. Because flossing is difficult and painful on damaged teeth, food can become trapped and disease can spread.)
- Cysts (Wisdom teeth can grow in a sac located inside the jaw. These sacs can fill with fluid and lead to cysts that cause nerve damage and pain.)
How Do They Cause this Pain?
Headaches come as a result of tension and irregular pressure in the jaw. As wisdom teeth grow in, they can cause your other teeth to shift to make room. Sometimes this leads to what dentists call a “gum pocket.” This is a small, painful pocket that is the result of an infection caused by a wisdom tooth trying to come through.
As a result, jaw position and bite may be forced to change in an attempt to avoid unnecessary pain. While adjusting your jaw position may save you from biting into a swollen and painful gum pocket, you may unknowingly cause yourself further harm. Changing your bite pattern could shift your jaw joints into an unnatural position.
These displaced jaw joints can be swollen and painful and can press on your ear muscles every time these joints bend. This is what causes the headache – direct and unnatural pressure on the ear muscles due to the shifted jaw position and bite pattern.
Increased tension in the jaw can certainly spread to the neck, causing neck pain treatment as well. This pressure can quickly spread from the back of the jaw to the lower neck, increasing the overall pain and possibly the inflammatory symptoms of the headache.
How to Relieve Wisdom Tooth Pain?
So for the question, Can wisdom teeth cause neck pain? Yes, it can, and here’s the solution;
- Saline Rinse – To prevent or help relieve the pain associated with a wisdom tooth infection, you should rinse with salt water several times a day. Mix a teaspoon of salt water with 1 cup of lukewarm water.
- This solution removes bacteria, reduces swelling, and helps relieve pain. In addition to trying to brush and floss properly, rinsing with salt water can help maintain wisdom teeth that are difficult to thoroughly clean and keep clean.
- NSAIDs – nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that offer pain relief while reducing inflammation. We recommend taking Aspirin for wisdom tooth pain relief as it is an effective remedy for toothaches and headaches.
- A cold pack or moist heat – To help reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation, you can try applying an ice pack to the jaw area. Using a heating pad can also improve circulation, which helps with headaches.
- Extraction – The above pain relievers will only offer temporary relief until you can see a dentist. If you’re experiencing wisdom tooth pain or headaches that you think are wisdom teeth related, you should see a dentist right away so they can take x-rays and take a closer look at what’s going on.
You will most likely need to have your wisdom teeth extracted. Even if there are no current problems with your wisdom teeth, it is highly recommended that you have them extracted to avoid unnecessary oral health problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and infection.
What Happens if You Don’t Remove Damaged Wisdom Teeth?
Injured wisdom teeth can cause a number of other complications as the condition to worsen. While impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious pain on their own, the real threat comes from the complications that can occur as a result, which can include:
- Damage and misalignment of adjacent teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can push on the teeth around them, causing infection or pushing the teeth out of place.
- Gum disease. Because impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to brush or floss, they are prone to infection and decay. This can cause serious problems in the mouth.
- Cysts. Wisdom teeth grow in a sac located inside the jaw. These sacs can fill with fluid when wisdom teeth are impacted. This can lead to cysts that can damage nerves, cause pain and cause damage to adjacent teeth.
How Do They Remove Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Removal of impacted wisdom teeth usually requires a surgical procedure performed by an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon will usually numb the area with a local anesthetic and may also suggest using sedation to help you sleep during the procedure.
The surgeon will then make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the affected tooth and root so that the tooth can be removed. In some cases, it may also be necessary to remove small pieces of jawbone if the bone is blocking access to the tooth. You may need to come back later to have your stitches removed, or your doctor may use stitches that dissolve on their own.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Damaged Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Most people will experience pain and swelling for a few days after their wisdom teeth are removed. Follow your doctor’s instructions about what to eat and how to manage pain. Your doctor may also recommend that you refrain from strenuous activities for a few days. Most people can return to work or school the next day.
Call your doctor’s office if you experience severe pain, excessive bleeding, difficulty swallowing, fever, or other unusual symptoms.
If you experience one or more of these warning signs and are concerned that you may have impacted wisdom teeth, you should contact your dentist immediately. If you need dental care, consider finding a dentist who uses the DentalVibe Injection Comfort System.