TMJWisdom Teeth

Difference Between Wisdom Tooth Pain And Tmj?

If you’re experiencing jaw pain, it can be challenging to identify the source of the problem. Two common causes of jaw pain are wisdom tooth pain and TMJ.

While both conditions can cause discomfort in your jaw, they are different and require different treatments.

Wisdom teeth are molars that usually emerge in your late teens or early twenties. They can cause pain when they don’t have enough room to grow properly or become impacted.

This can cause swelling, tenderness, and soreness in your gums and jaw. On the other hand, TMJ is a joint disorder that affects the hinge connecting your lower jaw to your skull.

This condition can cause pain in your jaw joint and muscles and difficulty opening and closing your mouth.
Understanding the difference between wisdom tooth pain and TMJ is crucial to finding the right treatment.

This article will explain each condition’s symptoms, causes, and treatment options. So you can better identify the source of your jaw pain and seek appropriate care.

Wisdom Tooth Pain:

Definition and Causes:

The last teeth to come in at the back of your mouth are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. They’re also known as the third molar.

For some people, there is not enough space in their mouth for wisdom teeth to fully emerge or erupt.

This can cause wisdom tooth pain and other complications. Affected wisdom teeth can cause infection, damage adjacent teeth, or even form cysts or tumors.

Wisdom teeth usually appear in the late teens or early twenties. Unfortunately, many people don’t have enough room in their mouths to fit them.

When that happens, they become affected, resulting in pain, swelling, and soreness in the jaw.

Plus, they can cause crowding, shifting, or even damage the other teeth, messing up your alignment.

Sometimes cysts or tumors can form around harmed wisdom teeth, but that’s rare. All in all, it’s probably best to have the affected teeth taken out.

Your dentist or oral surgeon can do that with anesthesia.

Symptoms and Signs:

When wisdom teeth are trying to emerge but can’t get out properly, it can result in several painful symptoms. Sometimes, it might not even be noticeable since there may be no signs.

However, common signs of affected wisdom teeth include sharp pain in the back of the mouth where they are trying to erupt.

The area may also be tender to touch or swollen, causing redness. Other signs may include difficulty opening your mouth wide enough or chewing food comfortably.

Treatment Options:

Ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) is usually your go-to for mild wisdom tooth pain. But your dentist might prescribe antibiotics if you’re dealing with a more serious infection.

In extreme cases, they might even suggest pulling out the tooth, which might involve surgery and being put to sleep.

TMJ Pain:

Definition and Causes:

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ pain is a common disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.

It can arise from stress, injury, or genetics. The causes of TMJ pain are not always clear, but most often, it occurs due to some form of damage to the joint caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), arthritis, or an injury.

Symptoms and Signs:

The effects of TMJ pain can differ between people and range from mild to intense. Some common symptoms include tenderness or pain in the jaw joint, neck, shoulders, or ears.

Pain may be constant or intermittent and worsen when you chew food or open your mouth wide.

Difficulty opening your mouth wide is another symptom associated with TMJ pain. Sometimes you might feel like your jaw is locked while opening it wide.

Clicking, popping, and grating sounds when moving the jaw are additional signs of TMJ pain that can be heard by others around you.

These sounds indicate a problem with the alignment of your jawbone.

Treatment Options:

For TMJ pain, the usual treatment involves a mix of medicines and lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation and build up the muscles around the jaw joint.

Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs are often prescribed to reduce pain and swelling from TMJ disorders. If NSAIDs don’t do the trick, your doctor might give you muscle relaxers.

Physical therapy can help, too, by strengthening the muscles around the joint.

Wearing a mouthguard or splint at night can also help, as it prevents teeth grinding, which can lead to TMJ pain.
These are custom-made for each person and can be worn until the TMJ disorder is resolved.

Difference Between Wisdom Tooth Pain And Tmj?

Figuring out the difference between wisdom tooth pain and TMJ pain can be tricky.

If you’re feeling pain in the back of your mouth behind your molars, it’s likely wisdom teeth. But it might be TMJ if you’re feeling pain near your jaw joint in front of your ears.

Plus, if you hear clicking or popping when you move your jaw, that’s another sign of TMJ.

Also, wisdom teeth might be the culprit if you have swelling and redness near your molars with a sharp ache when eating hot or cold foods and drinks.

If you’re still unsure about what’s causing your dental pain, it’s best to visit a dentist.

They’ll be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. You can eliminate dental discomfort and keep your mouth healthy with the right care.

Was this article helpful?

Dr. Ahtsham

I am a dentist. I am working hard to keep this blog updated for those suffering from tooth pain. It is my goal to make this blog the source for all information regarding tooth pain. Feel free to contact me if you are suffering from toothache.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button