Can Wisdom Teeth Cause TMJ? Complete Discussion About It

Sarhan Basem
credit: ongressdentalgroup

Can wisdom teeth cause TMJ? TMJ disorders and impacted wisdom teeth can both bring about discomfort in the jaw, and sometimes, it can be challenging to tell them apart. However, it’s crucial to distinguish between the two as they have distinct causes and may require different treatments. This article will explore the relationship between impacted wisdom teeth and TMJ disorders, shedding light on potential problems and available solutions.

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause TMJ?

“Can wisdom teeth cause TMJ?” This question arises because the pain from both issues can feel similar and radiate to the ear and other areas of the face. Let’s delve into it to understand better.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth Explained

Wisdom teeth, known as third molars, typically emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, many people face a common problem known as impacted wisdom teeth. This occurs when there isn’t enough space in the jaw to accommodate the emerging teeth fully. As a result, the wisdom teeth remain partially or entirely trapped within the jawbone or gum tissue.

While impacted wisdom teeth can be a source of excessive stress on the jaw, leading to discomfort, it’s essential to note that they are not a frequent cause of TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders primarily stem from issues within the jaw joint, such as defects, inflammation, or damage to the joint.

Other Causes of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can arise due to various reasons, including muscle strains, malocclusions (problems with how the teeth fit together), trauma to the jaw, or arthritis affecting the jaw joint.

Addressing the Discomfort

If you’re experiencing jaw pain and suspect it might be related to your wisdom teeth, it is advisable to consult an oral surgeon. A professional evaluation will help determine the exact cause of the pain and guide you toward effective treatment options.

Potential Problems Caused by Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Although the likelihood of impacted wisdom teeth causing TMJ disorders is low, there are other issues that can arise when these large molars try to erupt in a crowded jaw. Some of these problems include:

  • Teeth Misalignment: Impacted wisdom teeth can exert pressure on neighboring teeth. This may lead to a misaligned bite and potential orthodontic complications
  • Cysts and Tumors: In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can cause the development of cysts or tumors around the impacted area, which can cause further discomfort and complications
  • Increased Risk of Infections: The rearmost portion of the jaw can be challenging to clean adequately. As a result, impacted wisdom teeth are more susceptible to infections and abscesses, potentially leading to oral health issues

Preventive Measures: Wisdom Tooth Extraction

To avoid the potential consequences of impacted wisdom teeth, many patients opt to have them removed preventively. An oral surgeon typically performs wisdom tooth extraction, which may involve removing bone to access and extract the impacted teeth. The procedure is surgical, but most patients can restore their regular activities after the extraction for a few days.

Treating TMJ Disorders

In the case of TMJ disorders, non-invasive treatments are usually attempted initially. These can include lifestyle changes, physical therapy, and pain management techniques. However, if the symptoms persist and non-invasive methods don’t bring relief, surgery may be considered an option.

Conclusion: Can Wisdom Teeth Cause TMJ?

In conclusion, while impacted wisdom teeth can lead to jaw discomfort, they are not a common cause of TMJ disorders. TMJ issues primarily arise from problems within the jaw joint itself. If you experience jaw pain or suspect issues with your wisdom teeth, seeking professional advice is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Remember, preventive care, such as wisdom tooth extraction, can help avoid potential complications associated with impacted wisdom teeth. Proper oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups are also essential in maintaining good oral health and preventing dental problems in the future.

So, if you’ve ever wondered, Can wisdom teeth cause TMJ? The answer is that while it’s possible, it’s not the leading cause. Understanding the distinctions between these issues and taking proactive steps can ensure a healthier and pain-free smile.

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Sarhan Basem is Brussels Morning's Senior Correspondent to the European Parliament. With a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, Sarhan brings a unique blend of linguistic finesse and analytical prowess to his reporting. Specializing in foreign affairs, human rights, civil liberties, and security issues, he delves deep into the intricacies of global politics to provide insightful commentary and in-depth coverage. Beyond the world of journalism, Sarhan is an avid traveler, exploring new cultures and cuisines, and enjoys unwinding with a good book or indulging in outdoor adventures whenever possible.