wisdom teeth

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches and Neck Pain?

September 15th, 2016

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headaches and Neck Pain?As the last teeth to emerge into the mouth, wisdom teeth can be the source of a lot of problems. Because they typically don't develop until ages 17-24, they may not have enough room to grow in, causing painful impaction of the teeth. This means that these four wisdom teeth may only partially come through into the mouth, or in some cases, not at all.

Wisdom teeth are the source of many aches and pains, and removal is typically the best option to relieve symptoms of impaction. What may not be commonly known is their ability to affect other regions of the body, causing symptoms of headaches and neck pain. This article will strive to provide answers to those who are wondering about the full range of wisdom tooth pain, including lesser known symptoms like headaches and neck pain.

Is it True That Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Headaches and Neck Pain?

In short, absolutely. As wisdom teeth slowly grow into maturation, they can have some potentially significant—and painful—effects on the rest of your body. With decreased room to grow, wisdom teeth create natural tension. This slowly building tension can spread from your gums, into your jaw, and across other areas of your body.

How Do They Cause this Pain?

Headaches come as a result of tension and irregular pressure in your jaw. As wisdom teeth grow in, they may cause your other teeth to shift in order to make room. Sometimes this results in what dentists call a “gum pouch.” This is a small, painful pouch that results from an infection caused by a wisdom tooth trying to come through.

As a result, your jaw position and your bite may be forced to change in an attempt to avoid unnecessary pain. While adjusting your jaw position may save you from biting down on a swollen and painful gum pocket, you may be unknowingly causing further harm. Changing your bite pattern could shift your jaw joints into an unnatural position.

Those shifted jaw joints may become swollen and painful, and could get pushed against your ear muscles every time those joints are flexed. This is what causes a headache—direct and unnatural pressure against ear muscles due to a shifted jaw position and bite pattern.

Increased tension in your jaw can certainly spread to your neck, causing neck pain as well. That pressure can quickly spread from the back of your jaw to your lower neck, increasing overall pain, and perhaps inflaming headache symptoms, as well. Headaches and neck pain can be sure signs that a wisdom tooth has been infected, and needs removal.

What Are the Treatment Options for Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Treatment options are split into two groups: preventative treatment, and permanent relief. The best way to prevent wisdom teeth from becoming infected is to practice routine and thorough oral hygiene. Surrounding decay also causes many painful symptoms caused by wisdom teeth, or food and bacteria getting trapped around the tooth. Proper and thorough oral hygiene can act as good preventative measures for incoming wisdom teeth.

Unfortunately, the placement of wisdom teeth can make proper hygiene tough. Because they rest so far back in the jaw, they can be hard to clean. Additionally, there is not much to do for preventing pain from wisdom teeth—it's painful, but a relatively natural growth process.

Once impacted, or infected, the absolute best treatment is to have the affected teeth removed. Unfortunately, painkillers are only a temporary solution to what could become a permanent—and dangerous—problem. Left untreated, an impacted wisdom tooth could spread infections into the jaw muscles, which could travel into the brain. Keeping your body as healthy as possible can sometimes mean keeping your mouth as healthy as possible, too.

Not only will this alleviate painful symptoms, but removing wisdom teeth is the best way to prevent your body from developing an abnormal bite pattern. This will relieve tension headaches and neck pain, as well.


While wisdom teeth can indeed carry a host of painful symptoms and issues, the good news is that wisdom teeth pain is entirely treatable. You may not be able to prevent your wisdom teeth from coming in, but you can certainly avoid suffering unnecessary pain through wisdom teeth removal.

If you are suffering from headaches and neck pain, visit Water Tower Dental Care in Chicago today! We can help you determine if your wisdom teeth could be the cause.

What Are The Different Types of Teeth?

March 5th, 2015

What are the different types of teeth?It’s a surprise at how little many people think about their teeth until a true problem arises. Teeth are often ignored and given little care until it’s too late. The best thing a person can do for their teeth is to educate themselves on the proper care as well as their simple structure. Many people don’t even realize they have several different types of teeth. Today, we’d like to help our readers by listing the different types of teeth and how they help you every day.
Each type of tooth in your mouth comes in a slightly different shape to help perform its job within the mouth.


The incisors are the eight teeth that line the front center of your mouth. Four on the top and four on the bottom of your mouth. These teeth are primarily used for taking the first bite into food, however many also use them for nail biting and opening packages (two big no no’s). As a child, these are the first teeth that tend to erupt and become exposed. This typically happens when babies are 6-months-old for the first set and between 6 and 8 years of age for the second set.

Types of Adult Teeth ChartCanines

You have four canines, one on each side of your incisors. Canines are the sharpest of your teeth. While incisors usually take the first bite of food, canines are the ones to really tear the food apart. Canines appear second in the order of teeth for children, the first set appear around 16 to 20 months with the top canines arriving first. However, the top canines arrive second when the second set grow in, usually between 11 and 12 years of age.


Premolars, also known as bicuspids, are used for the chewing and grinding of the foods you eat. Premolars are placed on the side of your mouth, four on each side, two on the top and two on the bottom. Premolars are bigger and thicker than canines and incisors, but are just as susceptible to cavity and decay. Your first and only premolars arrive around the age of 10.


Molars are the largest of the teeth. They have a flat biting surface and are used primarily for chewing, grinding, and crushing food. The first set of molars come in between 12 and 15 months and are replaced by the permanent premolars (these are known as deciduous molars). The first set of permanent molars appear around the age of 6, and the second set between 11 and 13 years old.

Third Molars

More commonly known as wisdom teeth, these are the last teeth to develop between the ages of 18 and 20. While some people never develop wisdom teeth at all, others need them removed to prevent crowding.
Knowing the different types and uses for your teeth can help you care for them as well as use them properly. For more questions about your teeth type or anything dental related, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental Care, voted Chicago’s number 1 dental office.

What Are Wisdom Teeth and Why Are They Removed?

December 11th, 2014

Impacted Wisdom Teeth - Wisdom Teeth RemovalSurprise: your wisdom teeth are no wiser than your other teeth. They’re named that because the wisdom teeth are your last to emerge, usually when you’re more mature and a little wiser. The wisdom teeth are the third molars in the back of your mouth that develop in the later years of your maturing body. While some people are able to keep their wisdom teeth, the majority of people need to have them removed. There are many reasons why a person may need their wisdom teeth removed.

Reasons Why Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed

The first reason why you may need your wisdom teeth removed is that they can grow improperly, either never emerging from the gums or moving at such an angle that they affect other teeth. Because wisdom teeth are the last of the teeth to emerge, they often displace other teeth that are in their correct position. Many times, the wisdom teeth don’t start to grow until after a person has worn braces. If they grow irregularly, they can push against your back molars and cause a chain reaction that dis-aligns all of your teeth. Some wisdom teeth can grow at such an angle they never emerge from the gums, yet still push on your teeth to affect your mouth structure.
Other times, a wisdom tooth might grow straight, but only partially emerge from the gums, making it hard to fully clean the tooth while creating a passageway for bacteria to enter into the gums. This will create larger issues such as periodontal disease or oral infections.
When either of these situations happen, it’s a wise choice to have your wisdom teeth removed. It’s recommended to remove wisdom teeth before they are fully grown. This makes the removal easier, as roots are not yet fully formed, which keeps them from becoming too hinged to the jaw. When wisdom teeth are rooted, they are often positioned very close to the nerve endings of your jaw. Removal of your wisdom teeth at such juncture can cause a higher amount of pain, heavy bleeding, and minor loss of movement in the jaw. These problems can last days to months.
Removing wisdom teeth before they’re fully grown often means removing them before a clear problem arises. Often the patient is younger, which helps the mouth heal faster with less bleeding and pain.
Sometimes, however, the problem is avoided or not addressed until much larger issues occur. If you haven’t removed your wisdom teeth and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s recommended you have your wisdom teeth checked and potentially removed.

Signs That You May Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

  • Pain in the Back of Mouth
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Extensive Tooth Decay
  • Cysts
  • Infection of Gums In the Back Teeth

While some don’t ever find cause to remove their wisdom teeth, the majority of healthy adults will need to have theirs’ removed. If your wisdom teeth are beginning to emerge or have appeared and are causing you issues, we recommend contacting your dentist to help take you through the proper steps of wisdom teeth removal.

8 Tips for Taking Care of Your Mouth at Home After Wisdom Teeth Removal

September 25th, 2014

Tips for Taking Care of Your Mouth at Home After Wisdom Teeth RemovalIt’s important to take very good care of our mouth after your wisdom teeth are removed. The better care you give it, the faster your mouth can heal and the less risk there is of infection. Before you head home, your oral surgeon should help prepare you for the next few weeks of care with prescribed painkillers and extra gauze. Sometimes, antibiotics are prescribed.

Once home however, it is up to you and a friend or loved one to help you keep your teeth on the path to healing. Here are our tips for taking care of your mouth at home after your wisdom teeth are removed.

Add Gauze

First, make sure to have a large supply of gauze to help keep the sore area from bleeding. Gently remove gauze every 30 to 45 minutes, replacing it with a new piece of gauze until bleeding subsides. Although the blood should clot within the first 48 hours, sometimes the clot can break and you’ll need to re-apply gauze.

Stay Hygienic

It is important to avoid infection and keep your mouth clean. The night after surgery, try brushing your teeth softly. Avoid the surgical sites with your brush.

Salt Water Rinse

To help clean out the surgical site, use a saltwater rinse (1 tbsp of salt for 1 cup of warm water). Do not spit out water, as it can break clots, rather let it drip into the sink slowly. Try to rinse two to three times a day, especially after meals.

Take Care of Bleeding

Be aware that bleeding will occur, on and off, for up to 48 hours. While it may look like a lot of blood, keep in mind that most of the blood is mixing with your saliva, making it look much more severe than it actually is. Use gauze to prevent bleeding, apply pressure with gauze, and readjust if bleeding persists.

Minimize Swelling

Swelling will happen to help soften the pain. Your mouth will be most swollen around the two to three day mark. If you would like to minimize swelling, apply an ice pack on the outside of the cheek against the swollen area.

Use Prescribed Painkillers

With the removal of wisdom teeth, you should receive a prescription painkiller that will relieve most of the discomfort. It is advised to take the painkiller before the anesthetic wears off, this will help prevent pain before it starts.

Eat Right

Do your best to take in nutritional foods that are easy to eat. Soft foods such as yogurt, fruit smoothies, and mashed potatoes are best for the first few days. Do not use a straw the first few days as the suction can break blood clots. Slowly integrate simple solid foods into your diet, but avoid smaller foods such as rice, nuts, and popcorn, which can become lodged in the gum’s pockets.
It is important to eat three healthy meals a day after surgery. Your body needs the nourishment, and it will help you feel better and heal faster.

Communicate With Your Doctor

Stay in touch with your dentist if pain persists or you experience a high level of discomfort. Your doctor can either reassure you that this is the normal process, or help guide you to feeling better.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is no walk in the park, but it can drastically help lower your risk of gum disease and infection. If you would like any more information on wisdom teeth removal, contact your dentist.