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Oral Surgery/Earache after Wisdom Tooth Extraction

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Question
Hello.  I had my lower left wisdom tooth removed on 8/13.  I subsequently developed dry socket and was in excruciating pain for about a week.  I went back to the dentist twice (two days in a row) and he packed the socket.  Both times the dressing fell out (the first one I inadvertenly swallowed!)  Anyway, I now have an ache in the area where the tooth was removed, but nothing like the pain I had with the dry socket.  I also have an earache and it feels like my left ear is clogged.  Could all of this be related to the wisdom tooth extraction?  Or is the earache probably an ENT issue?

Answer
Danita - the earache you feel is not uncommon after the extraction of wisdom teeth.  This is usually due to inflammation of the jaw muscles near the extraction site.  These muscles attach in front of the ear and often cause an earache and clogged sensations in the ear.  The best thing to do to help eliminate these uncomfortable sensations is to begin warm salt water rinses along the jaw area for about 2-3 minutes, 4-5 times a day.  This will begin to relax the muscles and help the overall healing in the area.  It may take another 5-7 days for the sensations to completely resolve, but they will as long as you begin the warm salt water rinses.

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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired

Expertise

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.

Experience

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

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

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

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