Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches?


Wisdom teeth are the furthest back teeth in your mouth, usually appearing between the ages of 17 and 25. Many people believe that wisdom teeth cause headaches, but do they?

So, can wisdom teeth cause headaches? Wisdom Teeth can cause headaches and migraines because of jaw tension and inflammation. These headaches intensify after chewing and sometimes occur independently of toothache. You can take painkillers to manage your headaches while waiting for a wisdom teeth removal appointment.

But not all headaches are due to wisdom teeth. This article covers the signs of a wisdom tooth headache, and knowing these will help you assess if you need a dentist’s appointment for your wisdom tooth.

More importantly, keep reading for tips and tricks to minimize headaches while waiting for your dentist. By the end, you will know how to get instant relief.

3 Signs of a Wisdom Teeth Headache

A few signs can help you distinguish a regular headache or migraine from one caused by a wisdom tooth. You can use these as indicators for when you need to visit your dentist.

1. There is Tension in, or Pressure on, Your Jaw

The stinging sensation of a wisdom tooth headache doesn’t always connect to your teeth directly.

You might not be able to notice the pain wave starting from your jaw. However, you can almost always notice an abnormal pressure on your jaw alongside a seemingly independent pain in your head.

When this happens, your wisdom tooth creates tension that your nerves most prominently notice in your head.

2. The Side of Your Neck Hurts

Your throat will rarely hurt when you have a headache. Headaches are often accompanied by pain in the back of your neck or at one side of the neck.

Usually, the back of your neck hurts due to bad posture, and the consequent headache can be considered a tension headache.

But when the side of your neck hurts, you should see if you can trace the tension to your jaw. If the pain in your neck stems from your jaw, you can be sure you have a wisdom teeth headache.

Wisdom Teeth can cause crowding & pain

3. A Blunt Migraine Occurs After Eating

Another sign of wisdom teeth influencing migraines is that your headaches happen after you eat anything.

Sometimes, people can erroneously assume that the content of their diet is affecting their migraines. In reality, it is the act of chewing. When your wisdom tooth is pinned against your jaw flesh, any chewing action can pinch your flesh in unpleasant ways.

Sometimes this can result in a stinging sensation around the area where your wisdom tooth is. Sometimes, you just feel weird around the tooth but have a full-blown migraine elsewhere. In most cases, the pain occurs after you’ve eaten something.

Wisdom Tooth Exam in Columbus, Ohio

Call Bright Smile Dental today to schedule your FREE wisdom tooth consultation with Dr. Jerry Cheung

What to do When You Get a Wisdom Tooth Headache?

If you feel like your wisdom tooth is the source of your headache, you can do a few things for immediate relief.

Note: These remedies are a short-term solution until you can see your dentist.

Booking an appointment with a wisdom teeth removal dentist shouldn’t be the first step you take, but it must be one you should eventually take.

Step 1 – Gargle With Hot Salt Water

The first thing you can do when you feel unusual pressure in your jaw is to warm up a cup of water and add half a teaspoon of salt to it.

After dissolving salt in the water, you can start gargling, ensuring that the salt water reaches the part of your jaw where the wisdom tooth is acting up.

You can reduce the inflammation in your jaw by marinating it in hot water and exposing it to salt. Doing so can lower the intensity of your headaches.

Step 2 – Apply a Cold Compress

Cold compress is used to numb muscle pain, but it can be applied to the side of your jaw with a sufficient buffer.

As long as a cold compress is covered with thick fabric, you can apply it to the side of your face and let it work its magic on the inflammation caused by your wisdom teeth.

Hold it no longer than 20 minutes, and give your face a 30-minute break after applying the cold compress. You will start to see some difference in the intensity of your headache.

Step 3 – Take a Painkiller

The average adult can take 500 mg of Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation to make your teeth and your head stop hurting.

Caution: Painkillers are not a long-term solution, but they can reduce your pain while seeking a wisdom tooth removal service.

Step 4 – Find a Wisdom Teeth Removal Service

Dr. Jerry Cheung
Wisdom Teeth Dentist in Columbus. Ohio

If the wisdom tooth’s angular growth is the source of your pain, your tooth will likely need to be removed. And for that, you need to get a dentist near you.

You can look up the following to get good local results:

Dentists in my area – This will yield business results showing dentists with a Google places profile in your region. Most dentists remove wisdom teeth, so this is an excellent term to search.

Dentist near me wisdom teeth removal – This is a more specific way of finding dentists specializing in wisdom teeth removal. You can expect local results showcasing dentistry practices that have produced authoritative content on wisdom teeth removal.

Wisdom Tooth Exam in Columbus, Ohio

Call Bright Smile Dental today to schedule your FREE wisdom tooth consultation with Dr. Jerry Cheung

Wisdom Teeth Removal Pros and Cons

Now that you know how wisdom teeth can contribute to headaches and migraines. Because some dentists will opt to keep your wisdom teeth, let’s consider the pros and cons of removing them:

Pros of Wisdom Teeth RemovalCons of Wisdom Teeth Removal
Reduces crowding and crooked teeth riskThere is a complication risk if you choose an unqualified dentist
Reduces risk of infection or cavitiesYou need to go under anesthesia
Makes life easier, in the long runTemporary discomfort after the procedure

Final Thoughts

There are a few theories as to why people think wisdom teeth cause headaches, but the most likely explanation is that the pain is actually due to the teeth coming in and putting pressure on the nerves in your head.

While wisdom teeth don’t always cause headaches, they can be a contributing factor. Wisdom teeth can cause headaches because they can put pressure on the surrounding teeth and jaw. If they are not removed, they can also lead to infections and other oral health problems.

Painkillers can help reduce the pain in the short run. 

If you are experiencing headaches and think that your wisdom teeth may be to blame, it’s best to see your dentist for a wisdom teeth exam. If you live in the Columbus, Ohio area, schedule your wisdom teeth exam at Bright Smile Dental in Powell, Ohio.

Wisdom Tooth Exam in Columbus, Ohio

Call Bright Smile Dental today to schedule your FREE wisdom tooth consultation with Dr. Jerry Cheung