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Oral Surgery/ear ache and tooth extraction

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Question
had a lower right tooth extracted on wednesday. it was not a wisdom tooth. it was the next tooth over(extracted as there was a deep crack )it was a difficult extraction and the tooth came out in pieces. during the suctioning- a slight tear occured on my tongue and he had to put a stitch in it. so there is limited movement on the tongue but more importantly pain like an ear ache when i swallow. this is day 4. i am gong on a plane in a few weeks and nervous about the ear ache and the travel. is this pain normal healing?

Answer
Laurie -  What you are describing with the earache is usually indicative of spasm of the jaw muscles.  Some of the tongue muscles attach to the bones in the area and they often link with some muscles that attach near the ear.  This combination often produces earaches.  It is very similar to the earache that occurs when people have a back tooth decay.

My suggestion is to treat this problem as a spasm of the muscles in the area.  The best thing for you to do is quite simple and should begin to reduce the pain within a 3-4 days.  You need to make a full glass of warm salt water.  You will need to swish the warm salt water at the area of the tongue.  This needs to be done for 3-4 minutes about 5 times a day.  This is a gradual improvement treatment, but should promote healing and a reduction of the muscle spasms.  

I wish you well and hope you feel better soon.  If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me again.

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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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