can wisdom teeth cause swollen lymph nodes in neck

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck?

Discovering swollen lymph nodes in your neck can be concerning, and you may wonder if your wisdom teeth could be the culprit. Are you curious about the potential link between wisdom teeth and swollen lymph nodes? In this informative article, we will learn, “Can wisdom teeth cause swollen lymph nodes in neck?”. By exploring the impact of wisdom teeth on swollen lymph nodes, you can better understand potential causes and take appropriate steps toward finding relief.

What are The Basics of Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are the last set of teeth that usually come between 17 and 25. One of these teeth is on each side of the upper and lower jaws in the back of the mouth. Some people have enough space in their mouths for their wisdom teeth to grow in without causing problems, but many people do not because of things like not having enough room or not having their teeth lined up right.

Wisdom teeth are called that because they usually come in at a certain age, called the “age of wisdom.” But when these teeth come in, they can sometimes be painful and cause problems with your mouth’s health. Because there isn’t much room in the mouth, wisdom teeth may become “impacted,” which means they can’t fully break through the gum line. This can cause pain, an infection, and damage to the teeth around it, among other problems.

Since wisdom teeth are in the back of the mouth, it can be hard to clean them properly. This makes them more likely to get cavities or gum disease. In some cases, having wisdom teeth can also cause crowding and movement of the other teeth, which requires orthodontic treatment to put them back in the right place.

Because of these possible problems, dentists often suggest taking out wisdom teeth, especially if they are causing pain, an infection, or other problems with the mouth. Most extractions are done with local anesthesia or sedation, which makes the process easy and safe.

What are the Swollen lymph nodes?

Swollen lymph nodes, called lymphadenopathy, occur when lymph nodes get bigger. Lymph nodes are small glands that look like beans and are found all over the body, mostly in the neck, armpits, and thighs. 

They are important to the immune system because they filter out dangerous things like bacteria and viruses.

When the body fights off an infection, inflammation, or certain medical conditions, the lymph nodes can get bigger and sore. This is a normal reaction while the immune system tries eliminating the cause. 

Most of the time, swollen lymph nodes mean that the body is trying to fight off an infection or inflammation in the area.

Can wisdom teeth cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck?

Yes, wisdom teeth can cause lymph nodes in the neck to swell up. When wisdom teeth come in or get stuck, they can create a place where bacteria can grow and cause illnesses. 

These diseases can cause pericoronitis, an inflammation of the gum tissue around a tooth that is only partially out of the gum. When the body’s immune system reacts to this infection, nearby lymph nodes in the neck can swell and hurt.

Additionally, the spread of illness from the infected wisdom tooth and the tissue surrounding it to the nearby lymph nodes can result in swollen lymph nodes in the neck. This disease is called lymphadenitis, and it happens when bacteria or other pathogens make the lymph nodes infected or swollen.

It’s important to remember that wisdom teeth aren’t the only cause of swollen lymph nodes in the neck. Other things can do it, too. Infections like colds, flu, sore throats, and diseases like mononucleosis can also cause lymph nodes in the neck to swell up. 

So, it’s important to talk to a dentist or doctor about your swollen lymph nodes so that they can find out what’s causing them and give you the right treatment.

Can wisdom teeth cause swollen lymph nodes behind the ear?

Yes, wisdom teeth can potentially cause swollen lymph nodes behind the ear. When wisdom teeth become impacted or infected, the infection or inflammation can spread to the surrounding tissues, including the lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears. As a result, the lymph nodes may become enlarged and tender as they respond to the infection or inflammation.

The proximity of the wisdom teeth to the lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears increases the likelihood of their involvement in wisdom tooth-related infections. The lymph nodes play a crucial role in the immune response, and when they detect infection or inflammation, they can become swollen as they fight off harmful substances or pathogens.

It’s important to note that while swollen lymph nodes behind the ear can be associated with wisdom tooth problems, other factors can also cause lymph node swelling. Infections, such as ear infections, sinus infections, or scalp infections, can also lead to swollen lymph nodes behind the ear. Consulting with a dental or medical professional is essential to accurately diagnosing the underlying cause of your swollen lymph nodes and determining the appropriate treatment.

Suppose you are experiencing swollen lymph nodes behind the ear along with other symptoms such as pain, tenderness, or difficulty opening your mouth due to wisdom tooth-related issues. In that case, it is recommended to seek professional dental care. A dental professional can evaluate your wisdom teeth, assess potential infections or inflammation, and provide appropriate treatment or recommend wisdom tooth extraction if necessary.

Can wisdom teeth cause swollen salivary glands?

Yes, wisdom teeth can cause the salivary glands to swell up. The salivary glands make saliva. Saliva helps digest food and keep your mouth healthy. There are three sets of salivary glands:

  • The parotid glands near the ears
  • The submandibular glands under the jaw
  • The sublingual glands under the tongue

When wisdom teeth get stuck or infected, they can make the tissues around them, like the salivary glands, swell up. This inflammation can make it hard for saliva to flow normally and cause swelling and pain in the affected gland or glands.

In some cases, the position or growth of wisdom teeth can put pressure on nearby salivary tubes, which can cause them to get blocked and cause the salivary glands near them to swell. This is called sialadenitis, an illness or inflammation of the salivary glands.

When wisdom teeth cause swollen salivary glands, you may feel pain or soreness in the area, have trouble opening your mouth all the way, have a dry mouth, have a bad taste, or even have a fever.

If your salivary glands are swollen and you think it might be because of your wisdom teeth, you should talk to a dentist about it. They can look at your wisdom teeth, check out the damaged salivary glands, and suggest the right treatment. Possible treatments for impacted wisdom teeth include:

  • Taking out the teeth.
  • Treating the infection or inflammation with medicines or anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Giving supportive care like warm compresses and drinking enough water.

It’s important to note that wisdom teeth aren’t the only thing that can cause swollen salivary glands. Infections, blockages, or medical conditions like salivary gland stones can also cause similar symptoms. A dentist can help determine what’s going on and give the right care or send you to a specialist if that’s what you need.

Final Words

While swollen lymph nodes in the neck can be associated with wisdom tooth problems, seeking professional evaluation for an accurate diagnosis is crucial. Infections and inflammation related to wisdom teeth can potentially lead to swollen lymph nodes in the neck area. However, other factors can also contribute to lymph node swelling. If you are experiencing swollen lymph nodes, consult a dental or medical professional to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis and intervention can help alleviate discomfort and prevent potential complications.


"Hasan", I am a physiotherapy Doctor. I have completed my B.S.c course (4 years) under Rajshahi University, Faculty of Medicine, Rajshahi. Currently I am working as a clinical physiotherapist at a renowned physiotherapy center and I am continuing my MPT (Master's of physiotherapy) degree at CRP, Savar.

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