10 Signs That Your Headaches May Be Caused by Wisdom Teeth

Most people don't think about their wisdom teeth until they start to experience pain. Unfortunately, many don't realize that their wisdom teeth can cause headaches. If you are experiencing regular headaches and you can't seem to find the source, it may be time to take a closer look at your wisdom teeth.

In this blog post, we will discuss ten signs that your headaches may be caused by wisdom teeth. We'll also provide some tips on how to manage these headaches when they occur.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth to develop in most humans. Wisdom teeth grow between the ages of 17 and 25. In most cases, the presence of wisdom teeth can cause pain.

Because wisdom teeth develop so late in life, they often don't have enough space in the jawbone to grow properly, leading to misaligned or impacted teeth, which are trapped beneath the gums or growing sideways into other teeth. For these reasons, it is important to monitor the growth of your wisdom teeth and receive appropriate dental care if necessary.

Why do wisdom teeth cause headaches?

headaches caused by wisdom teeth

It all comes down to the anatomy of your mouth. As your wisdom teeth are erupting or growing in, they put pressure on the surrounding teeth and jawbone, which can cause headache pain. Additionally, when there is not enough room in your mouth for them to grow properly, it can create tension in your jaw muscles and pain that can radiate around your head and neck area.

In most cases, if wisdom teeth are not cared for properly, bacteria can build up around them and cause an infection known as pericoronitis, which can lead to a build-up of pressure in the area near your wisdom teeth that can be quite uncomfortable and even cause headaches.

Signs that headaches may be caused by wisdom teeth

Headaches can come from many different things, one of which is wisdom teeth. Here are 10 signs that your headache might be coming from your wisdom teeth!

1. Sinus headaches

A woman is having sinus headaches

If you have a sinus headache, it may be caused by pressure and inflammation in the area surrounding your wisdom teeth. The pain may feel like an intense throbbing or pressure, often accompanied by a stuffy nose and sore throat.

2. Severe migraines or tension  headaches

If you're experiencing migraines with no identifiable cause, they may be linked to pressure in the jawbone due to impacted wisdom teeth. Tension headaches can also occur due to tightness in muscles around the face, neck, and head which can result from an imbalance caused by your wisdom teeth pushing against other teeth.

3. Headache accompanied by earache

A man who has a headache with earache

Ear pain due to the pressure and tension being put on the jawbone by your erupting wisdom teeth can also be a sign that you have wisdom tooth-related headaches.

4. Headaches that worsen when you bite down

If your headaches worsen when you bite down, it could be a sign that your wisdom teeth are causing pressure in the surrounding tissue and jawbone.

5. Pain on the side where your wisdom teeth are erupting

A woman has pain on the side of the head near where the wisdom teeth are

Pain in this area is likely due to pressure from wisdom teeth pushing against other parts of your mouth such as the cheekbone, which can cause a headache at the same time.

6. Tingling or numbness in the face

It is not uncommon to experience tingling or numbness around your jaw, as well as other areas of your face if you are experiencing headaches related to wisdom teeth.

7. Soreness in the jaw along with headache

A woman has pain in both jaws

If you are experiencing tenderness in your jaw and headache at the same time, it could be due to pressure from your wisdom teeth pushing against other parts of your mouth.

8. Headache when eating something cold or hot.

Temperature sensitivity is often caused by inflammation in the area surrounding wisdom teeth, which can lead to sharp shooting pains radiating up into the head when eating something cold or hot.

9. Pain when opening your mouth wide

If you find that opening or closing your mouth causes an increase in headache pain, this could be a sign of wisdom tooth-related headaches. As the pressure from wisdom teeth increases, it can become quite difficult to open your mouth wide due to either jawbone misalignment or pressure from the erupting tooth which can be quite uncomfortable.

10. Swelling in your gums

A man has swelling of his gums

If your gums are swollen, red, or sensitive to the touch and accompanied by a headache, it could be because of an infected wisdom tooth. An abscessed wisdom tooth can cause pain and swelling that radiates up into the head.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible so they can diagnose and recommend a course of treatment. In many cases, wisdom teeth removal is necessary to provide lasting relief from pain and discomfort. With proper care and treatment, you can have relief from headache pain and other symptoms associated with wisdom teeth.

What other problems are associated with wisdom teeth?

A man with bad breath

In addition to headaches, wisdom teeth can cause a variety of other problems, including:

  • Pain or inflammation in the jaw
  • Misalignment of the other teeth in your mouth
  • Damage and destruction to neighboring teeth
  • Swelling of the gum line at the back of the mouth
  • Overcrowding of the teeth
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Bad breath
  • Cyst formation
  • Tumors
  • TMJ disorder

How to relieve headaches from wisdom teeth?

Rinse with salt water

Headaches from wisdom teeth can range from mild to severe and may come and go over time. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help relieve the discomfort associated with headaches caused by wisdom teeth. Here are some helpful tips:

Rinse with salt water: This will help reduce inflammation in the area and provide much-needed relief from the throbbing headache. The saline solution will also help keep your mouth clean and free of bacteria that can worsen the symptoms of a headache caused by wisdom teeth.

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever: If rinsing with salt water does not provide adequate relief, over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and temporarily relieve headaches associated with wisdom teeth. It’s important to consult your doctor before taking any medication, particularly if you’re pregnant or have other health issues.

Apply thermotherapy: Applying a hot and cold therapy compress on the area can help reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain. The cold helps decrease inflammation and irritation, while the heat helps relax tense muscles in the jaw area that may be contributing to your headache pain.

Wisdom tooth removal: If headaches persist after trying home remedies, consider getting your wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible since this is often the only way to completely relieve headache pain associated with wisdom teeth. This is usually done by an oral surgeon and will eliminate any future complications that could arise due to impacted wisdom teeth.

Oral surgery for impacted wisdom teeth: In some cases, wisdom teeth are not able to fully erupt from the gums and become impacted due to a lack of space in the jawbone or other issues. If your dentist determines that it is a result of an impacted wisdom tooth, they may recommend more complex oral surgery to remove them. This will help alleviate pressure on nerves and muscles, thus providing relief from headaches.

Frequently asked questions

Can the removal of wisdom teeth cause headaches?

The answer to this question is yes, although not very common. When wisdom teeth become problematic, dentists often recommend their removal. However, the surgery can sometimes lead to headaches due to inflammation and pressure on facial nerves. In some cases, the headaches may appear right away following surgery or several days later. It is important to note that these headaches tend to be temporary and should resolve within a few weeks.

What are the benefits of keeping wisdom teeth?

It is widely believed that wisdom teeth are a vestigial organ, and some experts recommend having them extracted to avoid potential problems. However, if your wisdom teeth don't cause any pain or discomfort, there are several potential benefits in keeping them, including:

  • The presence of third molars can improve your bite and chew function.
  • Wisdom teeth can give the appearance of having a fuller and more balanced face.
  • Wisdom teeth provide support for your jawbone and surrounding gums.
  • Keeping wisdom teeth may reduce the risk of tooth decay caused by plaque build-up.

When is wisdom tooth extraction surgery recommended?

The best time to remove wisdom teeth is usually between the ages of 17 and 25 when the roots are not fully developed and the surrounding bone is softer, making removal easier. It is important to have wisdom teeth removed before they cause dental problems, such as overcrowding or infection.

What happens if you wait too long to get wisdom teeth out?

If four wisdom teeth are left in the mouth for too long, they can cause several problems. The longer you wait to get them removed, the more likely it is that your teeth and jaw may be impacted by complications. In addition, the longer you wait, the more complicated the procedure becomes due to root development.

Therefore, if you have wisdom teeth coming through or already present in your mouth it is important to consider removing them before any potential problems can arise, which may help ensure that your teeth and jaw stay healthy and in optimal condition.

Can you have partially impacted wisdom teeth?

For many people, wisdom teeth cause pain and dental issues. In some cases, these can be partially impacted, with some of the tooth visible above the gum line while the remainder is below the gum line.

To prevent further discomfort or complications, it is important to recognize warning signs such as headaches and contact a dentist right away for diagnosis and treatment plans, which may include removal if necessary. Being proactive can help ensure healthier jaws in the future!


Wisdom teeth may often be the root cause of headaches for many people. If you have any or all of these symptoms, it may be time to see a dentist or oral surgeon.

At Smiles By Design San Diego, we can help you determine if your wisdom teeth are the source of your headaches and what the best treatment plan is for you. Schedule your complimentary appointment with us today!