If you’re like most people, you probably think wisdom teeth are nothing more than a nuisance. But did you know that they can actually cause neck pain?
That’s right, wisdom teeth can put pressure on the nerves in your neck, causing pain and discomfort. So if you’re experiencing neck pain, it might be time to get your wisdom teeth checked out!
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars. They are the last teeth to come in, and usually erupt in the late teens or early twenties. By the time they come in, there is often not enough room in the mouth for them, which can cause them to become impacted. When wisdom teeth become impacted, they can cause a number of problems, including pain, infection, and damage to other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth that are not causing problems do not always need to be removed.
What are the symptoms of wisdom teeth problems?
The most common symptom of wisdom teeth problems is pain. As the wisdom teeth start to come through (erupt), they can push on the other teeth and cause them to become misaligned (crooked). This can also cause pain and discomfort.
Wisdom teeth can also crowd other teeth and make it difficult to clean them properly. This can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
If wisdom teeth are only partially erupted, they can trap food and bacteria against the gum tissue, which can cause an infection. This is known as pericoronitis. Symptoms of pericoronitis include:
- tenderness or soreness when eating or drinking
- a bad taste in your mouth
What causes wisdom teeth problems?
Among the most common problems associated with wisdom teeth are: -Crowding: When erupting wisdom teeth are unable to fully erupt through the gum tissue because there isn’t enough room, they are said to be impacted. Impacted teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, and may cause pain, infections, or other dental problems. This crowding can also cause teeth to become misaligned. -Partially erupted wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. -Cysts or tumors: Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) often form around partially erupted wisdom teeth. These cysts can damage bones and adjacent teeth, and may need to be surgically removed. In some cases, a tumor (abnormal growth of tissue) may develop around impacted wisdom teeth.
How are wisdom teeth treated?
There are a few different ways to treat wisdom teeth, depending on their position and how much they’re causing problems.
If your wisdom teeth are erupted (fully grown through the gum), but not causing any problems, you may not need any treatment. Regular dental checkups will help your dentist monitor your wisdom teeth and make sure they’re not causing any problems.
If your wisdom teeth are only partially erupted (partially grown through the gum), you may be at risk for infection, decay or gum disease. Your dentist may recommend that the tooth be removed to prevent these problems from happening.
If your wisdom teeth are fully impacted (stuck under the gum), they may be difficult to clean and keep healthy. Impacted wisdom teeth can also crowd or damage other teeth. For these reasons, many dentists recommend having impacted wisdom teeth removed.
How can wisdom teeth cause neck pain?
It’s possible for wisdom teeth to cause neck pain in a few different ways. First, if your wisdom teeth are impacted (stuck in your gums and not growing in properly), they can put pressure on the roots of your other teeth and cause pain. Additionally, wisdom teeth that are infected can cause swelling and pain in the nearby jaw and neck area. Finally, if you have to have your wisdom teeth removed, the surgery itself can cause temporary neck pain. If you’re experiencing neck pain, be sure to talk to your dentist or doctor to see if wisdom teeth could be the cause.
How can wisdom teeth problems be prevented?
There are a few things you can do to help prevent wisdom teeth problems:
-Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. This will help remove food and plaque from your teeth and gums.
-See your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can spot problems with your teeth and gums early on and take steps to prevent them from getting worse.
-Eat a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods helps keep your teeth and gums healthy.
-Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. Tobacco use increases your risk for gum disease, which can lead to wisdom teeth problems.
What are the risks of wisdom teeth problems?
If your wisdom teeth are impacted (stuck and unable to break through the gum), they may crowd your other teeth and cause pain. They can also cause problems with your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth fit together). Impacted wisdom teeth that don’t hurt generally don’t need to be removed. But they might need to be removed if they damage other teeth, or if they’re difficult to clean and are at risk for tooth decay or gum disease.
Partially erupted wisdom teeth that can be seen above the gum line are more likely to get cavities or to trap food and debris. This can cause infection, pain and swelling. Your dentist or oral surgeon will usually recommend removing these wisdom teeth.
When should I see a dentist for wisdom teeth problems?
If you’re experiencing any symptoms associated with wisdom teeth, it’s important to see a dentist as soon as possible to determine whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be removed. Symptoms can include:
- Pain in the gums around the wisdom teeth
- Tenderness or swelling in the gums around the wisdom teeth
- Swelling in the jaw
- Bad breath
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- A fever
If you have any of these symptoms, please see a dentist as soon as possible.