Could Your Wisdom Teeth Be The Source Of Your Headaches?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Throughout your life, your mouth undergoes numerous changes. The emergence of your third set of molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, is a major dental milestone that occurs between the ages of 17 and 24. These teeth begin moving up through your jawbone and break through your gum line.

If you’re a teenager or a young adult experiencing strange headaches, your wisdom teeth could be to blame. Headaches are a common problem associated with the emergence of wisdom teeth. What starts as mild, random headaches can quickly progress to more painful and longer-lasting episodes.

When wisdom teeth break through properly, they help you chew food. It’s normal to experience some discomfort once your wisdom teeth emerge, but if you experience pain, visit a dentist right away. Let’s take a closer look at wisdom teeth, how they cause headaches, and the best ways to address this issue.

How to Relieve a Wisdom Tooth Headache

Beautiful woman suffering from toothache

If you’re suffering from headaches caused by your wisdom teeth, some home and over-the-counter remedies help you get some relief.

1. Saltwater Rinse

Saltwater rinses are a popular remedy for pain caused by wisdom teeth. Rinsing your mouth with saltwater kills bacteria and reduces painful symptoms. Proper daily oral hygiene is essential, and brushing twice a day accompanied with saltwater rinses can help relieve pain.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture treatment involves applying needles to specific points on the body to promote energy flow throughout the body. Doing this can help activate the body’s pain-relieving compounds. Acupuncture may help reduce the severity and frequency of headaches.

3. Pain Relievers

Aspirin has long been used to treat headaches, including those induced by wisdom teeth. Aspirin (on Amazon) usually works well for relieving dental pain. Ensure you follow the directions on the label and don’t exceed the recommended dose.

Acetaminophen is another pain reliever you can get over the counter. It is important to note that acetaminophen (on Amazon) can cause gastrointestinal symptoms and liver toxicity when taken in large amounts. Due to this, we recommend only taking this medication as directed by your doctor.

4. Hot and Cold Therapy

Hot and cold therapy can also help relieve headaches. You can apply heat pads to relax tense muscles and increase blood flow to the area, which lessens the headache. You can also use cold packs to reduce headaches, inflammation, and swelling.

We advise applying cold packs to the temples and forehead, while you should apply heat pads on your neck and the back of the head. You can also safely use hot and cold therapy with other treatments and medication prescribed by your doctor.

5. Oral Surgery

In most instances, home remedies aren’t long-term solutions to the headaches caused by wisdom teeth. A dentist can surgically remove the affected wisdom teeth if necessary. This surgery permanently relieves wisdom teeth headaches.

Oral surgery will not only relieve headaches and other painful symptoms, but it is also the most effective way to stop abnormal bite patterns from developing.

It is important to note that oral surgery can cause jaw stiffness, which may cause postoperative headaches. However, this stiffness should be temporary and is a common occurrence after such an operation.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Asian woman feels pain because of wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth are the final set of teeth to develop during adolescence. As wisdom teeth emerge, they can often cause pain and discomfort. For some people, wisdom teeth may only emerge partially or, in some cases, not at all.

Because wisdom teeth don’t develop until you’re between 17 and 24 years old, they may not have enough space to grow properly. This emergence can cause impact other teeth in the mouth.

Unfortunately, the position of the wisdom teeth can hinder your oral hygiene. Wisdom teeth are hard to clean because they’re located so far back in the jaw. If your wisdom teeth don’t grow in properly, they can become impacted. Impaction happens because there’s inadequate space in the mouth for the third set of molars to grow in.

An impacted tooth can remain stuck in the jawbone or gums for different reasons. For instance, your jaw could be too small to accommodate the wisdom teeth.

Also, the teeth may tilt, twist, or become displaced as they emerge and, as a result, get stuck in your jawbone/gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause headaches or dental problems.

They can even produce enough force to destroy the teeth they impact, since they are tilted against the second molars in most cases. They can also form improperly and cause pathological cysts in the jaw. If the pain becomes severe, you may need to remove the wisdom teeth surgically.

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches?

Headaches can certainly occur from irregular pressure and tension in the jaw. When wisdom teeth emerge, they can push other teeth to move to make room for them. This movement can sometimes result in a “gum pouch.”

A gum pouch is a small and sore pouch that develops due to an infection called pericoronitis, which is caused by an emerging wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth can cause your jaw joints to flex and become swollen and painful. When the jaw joints push against the ear muscles, it can lead to headaches.

Increased tension around your jaw can spread to your neck and cause neck pain. Pressure can also quickly spread from the rear of the jaw to the lower neck, aggravating overall pain and possibly worsening headaches.

Headaches and neck pain are signs that your wisdom tooth is infected. If the headaches continue, you should see a dentist; you may need to have your wisdom teeth extracted.

But keep in mind that not all headaches arise because your wisdom teeth are emerging. In some cases, you may simply be suffering from a headache due to other factors such as physical and mental stress.

You may also experience recurrent headaches because of hormonal changes in your body, especially if you feel pain on the sides of your head.


When your wisdom teeth move up through the jawbone and emerge from beneath your gum line, they can cause headaches. While emerging or impacted wisdom teeth can cause various painful symptoms and problems, the good news is that wisdom tooth headaches are treatable.

You may not be able to stop your wisdom teeth from growing in, but you can avoid unnecessary pain by having them removed. If your wisdom teeth are causing issues, consult your dentist right away; they’ll be able to help you address the situation and get back to feeling normal.

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