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Oral Surgery/Ear Pain after Wisdom Tooth Extraction


Hello Dr.  I am a 29 year old female.  I had all four wisdom teeth extracted nearly a week and a half ago.  I saw my oral surgeon at 1 week post operation and everything looked great.  I was still a little sore at the time, but all normal healing.  The only complication I have had and mentioned to the Dr was numbness on my left part of my chin and bottom left lip.  I'm scheduled to go back in in one month to re-evaluate that.

In the past few days I have developed a rather nagging pain in my left ear.  It feels like there is an infection in my ear, however I have no fever and just finished a 10 day course of antibiotics.  My jaws are still sore and my gums are sore, but not too sore.  I do have some stiffness in my neck, but nothing too severe.  It all seems like normal healing, it's just the ear pain is a little much!  Is this a common occurrence?  What can I do to help the pain subside?

I have been very careful about hygiene.  I brush and irrigate the holes after I eat or drink anything other than water.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Lauren -  Of course, without examining you I cannot be completely sure, but your symptoms are fairly common after the removal of wisdom teeth.  The jaw muscles often go into spasm after the removal of wisdom teeth.  Those muscles, when in spasm can produce ear pain, headaches in the temple region, stiffness opening and closing the mouth and even neck stiffness.  So your symptoms definitely sound like muscle spasms.  To help reduce these spasms can usually be simple if you are attentive to the treatments I will describe to you.

There are two treatments.  Do warm salt water rinses for a full 5 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  Do that rinsing and focus the fluids on the back of the jaw area on both sides. If that alone does not help within 3-5 days, you may also need to apply warm moist compresses, like warm washcloths from the temple region to the bottom of the jaw,on both sides of the face, for about 5-10 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  I know this is a little work, but it should help the area within a few days, but complete healing will take a few weeks.

I wish you well and hope you feel better soon.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicing for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor at State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA- University of Connecticut DMD-University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Oral and Maxillofacial Surgical Residency - Roosevelt Hospital, NYC

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