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Why Are My Wisdom Teeth Giving Me a Headache?

by | Feb 9, 2024 | General Orthodontics, Oral Health, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

6 min reading time

Ah, the grand entrance of wisdom teeth—and with them, a not-so-welcome entourage: headaches.

These tardy molars, cramped for space amidst your other teeth, stir up quite the commotion.

They’re not just causing jaw stiffness; they’re also the sneaky source of discomfort that decides to take a detour to your head, leaving you with those pesky headaches.

Connecting the dots between these emerging teeth and your head-thumping pains is the key to finding relief and gaining insight into how our oral health can throw a curveball at our overall well-being.

 

Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches?

Woman with wisdom tooth pain

Wisdom teeth often play a game of spatial tug-of-war, lacking the room to gracefully take their place and deciding to nudge against their neighbors.

It’s not just an awkward teeth get-together; it’s tension brewing. Picture a persistent force giving your teeth and jaws a day-long squeeze.

This added pressure is the maestro behind tension headaches, those delightful sensations akin to a snug band encircling your head—not the most delightful experience, to say the least!

Sometimes, wisdom teeth opt for a quirky growth pattern or play the partial emergence card, a condition charmingly labeled as impaction.

Impacted wisdom teeth throw a gum-irritation party, bringing along swelling and pain that don’t confine themselves to the mouth. Oh no, they go on a journey through your body, making pit stops at Headache Central.

When these wisdom teeth mischief-makers decide to be the architects of your headaches, mornings might become headache hotspots.

Why the AM blues?

Blame it on your nocturnal tooth grinding or jaw clenching, courtesy of the irritation these teeth instigate. While you catch those Zs, your teeth play a nighttime symphony, cranking up the tension in your jaw, and voila—headaches become the morning after party.

 

5 Types of Headaches Caused by Wisdom Teeth

Types of Headaches Caused by Wisdom Teeth

  • Tension Headaches: The most prevalent headaches associated with wisdom teeth. As these molars jockey for space, they create tension in the jaw, extending to the head, resulting in a dull, aching pain.
  • Migraines: The stress and discomfort from wisdom teeth can occasionally trigger intense migraines. These aren’t your typical headaches; they come with severe, throbbing pain, often on one side of the head. Migraines also bring light and noise sensitivity and sometimes even nausea.
  • Cluster Headaches: While less frequent, cluster headaches are characterized by intense burning and piercing pain that can wake you up at night. They typically occur around or behind one eye or on one side of the face.
  • Sinus Headaches: When wisdom teeth interfere with your upper jaw, they might induce pressure and pain in your sinuses. This headache feels like pressure and fullness around your cheeks, eyes, and forehead, often worsening when you bend forward or lie down.
  • Referred Pain Headaches: Occasionally, the pain from wisdom teeth doesn’t remain confined to the jaw; it radiates (or is referred) to other areas of the head, causing more generalized headache pain.

 

7 Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Headaches

Symptoms of Wisdom Teeth Headaches

  • Food-Caused Headache Pain: Chewing becomes a headache trigger, especially when those wisdom teeth are causing trouble.
  • Gum Swelling: This is a red flag waving from your gums, signaling that something might not be right with your wisdom teeth.
  • Headache Accompanied by Earache: This combination of discomfort occurs when the pain from your jaw area decides to travel and gives your ears a hard time.
  • Neck Pain: It’s not only your jaw that’s under siege; your neck muscles join the party, too, resulting in an achy neck.
  • Pain When Opening Your Mouth Wide: Yawning or opening wide to bite into your sandwich shouldn’t be painful. However, with wisdom teeth issues, it can turn into an “ouch” moment.
  • Tension in the Jaw: It’s like your jaw muscles never get a break, thanks to the pressure from those wisdom teeth.
  • Tingling or Numbness in the Face: Occasionally, wisdom teeth irritate the nerves in your jaw, leading to a tingling or numb sensation in your face.

 

8 Ways to Soothe Wisdom Teeth Headache Pain

How to Soothe Wisdom Teeth Headache Pain

Navigating the maze of headaches caused by wisdom teeth can be challenging, but there are several effective strategies to alleviate the discomfort!

Here are eight ways to tackle wisdom teeth headaches:

  • Avoid Extreme Jaw Movements: Minimize yawns and wide bites to prevent exacerbating the pain.
  • Proper Oral Hygiene: Maintain meticulous oral hygiene. Brush and floss carefully around the affected area to prevent additional infection or irritation.
  • Hot and Cold Therapy: Utilize hot and cold therapy to soothe wisdom teeth headaches. Cold reduces swelling and numbs discomfort, while heat relaxes tense jaw muscles and improves blood flow—offering a one-two punch against headaches.
  • Massage: Gently massage the jaw and neck area to relax the muscles.
  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Salt Water Rinse: Swish with warm salt water for a gentle wave of relief over your gums, minimizing swelling and easing discomfort.
  • Soft Foods: Stick to soft foods to give your jaw a break from the strain of chewing tough foods.
  • See a Dentist: If the pain persists, consult with a dentist. They will provide specific advice and treatment options, potentially including the removal of wisdom teeth if they are the root cause of your headaches.

 

Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Address Headaches?

Woman with headaches caused by wisdom tooth pain

Wisdom tooth extraction surgery is the backstage pass to bid farewell to those fashionably late molars, often evicted because they’re causing a stir.

If your headaches are playing tag with discomfort from your wisdom teeth—think jaw tension, gum annoyance, or teeth crowding—then wisdom tooth extraction might just be your golden ticket to relief.

When those wisdom teeth make their exit, it’s like lifting a burden off your jaws, akin to shedding a weight off your shoulders.

If your headaches are a result of this dental pressure, they’ll likely take a bow or even vanish post-wisdom-tooth-extraction.

But hold up, not all headaches bow to the wisdom tooth’s rule.

Some headaches moonlight as stress, diet, or environmental drama queens. If these are the culprits behind your head throbbers, waving goodbye to your wisdom teeth won’t be the star move in the headache-relief playbook.

Woman with wisdom tooth pain

Headaches and Wisdom Teeth: Unraveling the Molar Mystery!

Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or message us through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary consultation!

Our office—located at 19465 Deerfield Ave. Suite 304 Lansdowne, VA 20176—proudly serves the Lansdowne, VA area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Sterling, or Leesburg and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office! 

We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!

 

References

  1. “10 Signs That Your Headaches May Be Caused by Wisdom Teeth – Smiles by Design San Diego.” 10 Signs That Your Headaches May Be Caused by Wisdom Teeth – Smiles By Design San Diego, www.sbdsd.com/blog/can-wisdom-teeth-cause-headaches. Accessed 29 Dec. 2023.
  2. “Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches?” Bright Smile Dental Powell, brightsmilepowell.com/can-wisdom-teeth-cause-headaches/. Accessed 29 Dec. 2023.
  3. “Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches?” Lane & Associates, lanedds.com/can-wisdom-teeth-cause-headaches/. Accessed 29 Dec. 2023.
  4. “Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches? Get Rid of Migraines!” Dr. Syed Quadri, Dr.Quadri, drquadri.com/can-wisdom-teeth-cause-headaches/. Accessed 29 Dec. 2023
  5. “Wisdom Teeth and Migraine: Links and More.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/wisdom-teeth-migraine. Accessed 29 Dec. 2023.