You probably expect your mouth to feel sore or tender after a dental procedure. But you may not have anticipated a locked jaw, nausea, or clogged ears following treatment. Even if you experience some swelling and soreness, sometimes it’s hard to tell what symptoms are normal and which ones require a consultation with the dentist.
Ear Pain After Dental Work
If you’re experiencing pain in your ears or hearing ringing sounds, it can be related to muscle strain after having your mouth open during treatment. You may also have an infection, your teeth may not be aligning properly, or you may have a cold or allergy that’s causing the symptoms.
Increasing Tongue or Cheek Pain After an Extraction
If pain suddenly worsens several days following an extraction, you may have dry socket, which occurs when a blood clot doesn’t form or is dislodged after an extraction. Without the clot, your nerve endings and bone near the extraction site are exposed to air, food, and liquids, causing significant pain.
To help relieve the pain, your dentist may place a medicated dressing in the socket. You might need to change the dressing daily or every two days, or you may get a dressing that stays in and dissolves over time. Your dentist might also prescribe you antibiotics or pain medication.
Jaw Pain After Dental Work
Any dental procedure that requires you to keep your mouth open for an extended period can result in soreness and stiffness due to muscle strain. A slightly sore jaw is normal following dental treatment, but if the pain is severe, call your dentist. They may suggest warm, moist compresses and gentle stretching exercises.
If you notice you’re having problems opening and closing your mouth, or that your jaw sometimes feels frozen in place, you may have a condition called trismus — or lockjaw. This is caused by a muscle injury following a dental injection, particularly when treating your lower teeth. It can also be caused by the effects of the local anesthetic solution or by muscle tremors due to jaw strain. Typically, trismus may last for two to three weeks. The treatment for trismus is the same for sore jaws, but in more severe cases, you may need muscle relaxants.
You may also experience jaw pain after a filling. The process used to affix and harden white fillings — dental glue and UV light treatment — results in shrinkage of the composite filling material. This can cause a sensation of pressure in your tooth and sensitivity when you bite down. The problem should solve itself within a few weeks, but if you’re uncomfortable or experiencing pressure with a throbbing sensation, check in with your dentist.
When to See a Dentist About Pain After Dental Work
We’ve listed some of the more common issues and their causes, but remember that your best dental health resource will always be your own dentist. Call your dentist if you’re experiencing pain, bleeding, swelling, or other discomforts after treatment, and follow the aftercare instructions you received from your dentist to avoid many common complications.
The Importance of Preventive Care
Skipping dental checkups and cleanings can often result in the need for restorative care, and the longer you avoid the dentist, the more likely you’ll need expensive, lengthy treatments. If budget constraints keep you from seeing your dentist, consider getting a dental savings plan.
Dental savings plans can provide plan members with savings of 10-60% on most procedures, including preventive and restorative care. While traditional dental insurance has deductibles, annual caps, waiting periods, and restrictions around pre-existing conditions, dental savings plans do not. You can call us at 1-833-735-0399 to learn more about dental savings plans.