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Are Wisdom Teeth Causing My TMJ Dysfunction?

Dr Martin Abelar - January 31, 2023 - 0 comments

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction pain can be just that: a big pain. For those who suffer from this often-debilitating condition, there are usually a lot of questions surrounding their diagnosis. Questions like ‘What can be done about this pain?’ and ‘What is causing my TMJ dysfunction’ are very common. But while there are many treatment options available, there are just as many reasons why you may be suffering from TMJ dysfunction.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction occurs when the temporomandibular joint of the jaw becomes separated from the jaw bone. This can cause popping and clicking sounds in the jaw, tinnitus, headaches, neck aches, back pain, migraine headaches, and of course, jaw pain. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction pain can be caused by several things, including stress, genetics, jaw injury, and even teeth grinding.  But now a new study asks: can TMJ dysfunction pain be caused by the presence of wisdom teeth?

The study found that while wisdom teeth can certainly cause jaw pain, they actually don’t (or seldom do) cause TMJ dysfunction. Wisdom teeth themselves don’t usually cause pain unless they become impacted. This means that the wisdom teeth are growing in at an angle, and that angle is causing the teeth to grow sideways into the gums, causing pain.  When wisdom teeth become impacted, dentists generally recommend they be removed.

Some common symptoms of wisdom tooth impaction pain include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Jaw or gum pain
  • Cysts
  • Gum disease
  • Pericoronitis, an infection of the soft tissue around the wisdom teeth
  • Damage to the other teeth surrounding the wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth typically appear between 17 to 25 years of age, and can be very painful coming in, even if they are not impacted. This is why Dr. Abelar recommends that if your teen or young adult begins to grow in their wisdom teeth, that they pay a visit to him just to monitor their growth and to be sure they are not growing in impacted.

Should your child have impacted wisdom teeth, Dr. Abelar will discuss removal options, including types of sedation for this procedure. While having wisdom teeth removed can be painful, it is much better to do in the long run, rather than allowing wisdom teeth to cause more damage to the gums and surrounding teeth.

If you believe you may have TMJ dysfunction or notice the emergence of wisdom teeth, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office today!

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