Can wisdom teeth cause TMJ disorder?

TMJ RichmondHave you kept your wisdom teeth? If so, you might be noticing symptoms like orofacial pain, crowding of your teeth, and popping or clicking sensations when you move your mouth. Retaining wisdom teeth is one common cause of TMJ disorder. When wisdom teeth erupt, they normally cause occlusal issues because there is not enough room in the mouth for their arrival. As they crowd teeth, they will affect the way teeth make contact during oral function. Improper tooth contact during oral function can lead to strain and stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). A joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull, the TMJ along with neighboring muscles and ligaments is responsible for facilitating all types of mouth movement. When the TMJ dysfunctions due to strain, it can cause impaired oral function, facial discomfort, and headaches.

What are the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction?

The most common symptoms of TMJ disorder include pain on the lower half of the face, including the jaw and the areas just beneath the ears. TMJ issues can also cause frequent headaches. Many people with TMJ disorder experience popping and clicking sounds or sensations when opening and closing their mouths. In severe instances of strain on the TMJ, people’s mouths may “lock up”. This means that a person will have difficulty moving one’s mouth. Worn dentition (tooth wear) is another common side effect of TMJ dysfunction.

Can wisdom teeth removal help?

If you have TMJ disorder and your wisdom teeth, having these teeth removed can improve your occlusion and take strain off your TMJ—especially if you receive orthodontic treatment afterwards to realign your teeth. Keeping your wisdom teeth can lead to other oral health issues as well so removing them is beneficial to your well-being.

In severe instances, TMJ dysfunction may need to be addressed with corrective or reconstructive procedures that reposition the jaws or repair damage to the TMJ itself.

If you suffer with TMJ disorder or need your wisdom teeth removed, call our practice to schedule an appointment with one of our caring oral surgeons.

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